The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, commonly known as Roscosmos, is the governmental body responsible for the space science program of the Russian Federation and general aerospace research. Soyuz has many launch locations the Russian sites are Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny however Ariane also purchases the vehicle and launches it from French Guiana.
Soyuz TM-20 was the 20th mission and the 17th long-duration expedition to Mir space station. The mission began on October 3, 1994, 22:42:30 UTC, launching Commander Alexander Viktorenko, Flight Engineer Yelena Kondakova and Research Cosmonaut Ulf Merbold into orbit. They docked with Mir two days later. During their stay there, cosmonauts performed two EVAs, carried out various scientific experiments. Station crew was visited by several Progress resupply spacecrafts, and welcomed aboard the Soyuz TM-21 crew. During this mission the first rendezvous maneuver of the Space Shuttle STS-63 with the Mir space station was performed. The mission concluded with a safe landing back on Earth on March 22, 1995, 04:04:05 UTC.
The Soyuz programme is a human spaceflight programme initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. The Soyuz spacecraft was originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. It was the third Soviet human spaceflight programme after the Vostok and Voskhod programmes.