STARSEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STARSEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Soyuz rocket assembly at the launch preparation bay at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This bay is where the payload (not seen) is attached to the top of the rocket. The red nozzles are where the exhaust gases emerge from the base of the rocket, launching it on the first stage of a trajectory towards Earth orbit. Four boosters are seen around a core, second stage rocket, which will take over from the boosters when they have exhausted their fuel. The Soyuz rockets are used by Starsem, a French-Russian consortium that provides commercial launch services for payloads such as satellites. Photographed in July 2000.
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