Soyuz Exhaust

The Soyuz rocket during liftoff of Expedition 70.

Here, a Soyuz rocket takes off in 2023, carrying three of the Expedition 70 crew to the International Space Station. This initial stage of the Soyuz launch vehicle uses four identical rocket boosters lashed around the second stage core. Each of the boosters has a rocket engine with four combustion chambers (and thus four exhaust nozzles) of its own. That creates the fiery flurry of engine plumes seen here. Most of the exhaust plumes are directed downward to provide the thrust needed to lift the rocket, but you can see a few angled slightly to either side to help stabilize the launch vehicle as it rises. (Image credit: NASA)

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