I would like informations on the flight controls of the Soyuz spacecraft. Especially the two control sticks, as shown in this picture (of a Soyuz simulator). enter image description here

I'm particularly interested by the user interactions. To my understanding the left one is used to control the attitude of the spacecraft: yaw, pitch, roll (the latter by rotating the stick). The right stick is used for translation control (forward/backward up/down right/left) The third axis is controlled by pulling/pushing the control.

  1. Did I understood well how the sticks function?
  2. Does the sticks allow for multi-directional inputs?
  3. Does the sticks have a potentiometre (are the thrusters throttlable)?
  4. What are the green and brown plots on the left stick?
  5. Which axis on the right controller controls which direction?

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cmichel67/14305335555 licensed under CC.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what exactly all those control knobs do (in olden days the left one was acceleration along -x, see page 29 here, so it's changing flight/control mode), but you're correct in your assumptions about the two joysticks, see Jason Torchinsky's How To Fly A Soyuz Space Capsule. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave That's very helpful. Tho it raise an other question: how to control +x acceleration ? Rotating the whole craft and accelerating again ? Sounds quite a hassle for minor adjustments... The other document state that +x is also controlled from here :/ $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Antzi: I think the wording ("enabling it to maneuver towards the station") may be misguiding and that's just an RCS on/off switch, enabling/disabling the joysticks. That's kinda important in the cramped cabin. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ I just looked through the Soyuz Crew Operations Manual (which AFAIK is only available behind a paywall) and there was very little info in there about the controllers. That document shows the THC on the left and the RHC on the right. None of your other questions were answerable from that document. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


The original Soyuz was a bit different. This is all true for the Soyuz-TMA, and probably also the Soyuz-T. I don't know anything about the various Soyuz-7Ks.

You have the sticks switched in your understanding.

On the left controller, stick movements produce translation in the same direction.

On the right controller, up and down control pitch, left and right control yaw, and twisting controls roll.

The thrusters are not throttleable, though vernier control is available by flipping a switch.

http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/press/DA_Schlottke.pdf https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19830023190.pdf

I don't yet know whether it accepts multi-directional inputs. I expect not, since it does not use potentiometers.

I have no idea what you mean by green and brown plots on the left stick.

  • $\begingroup$ What information are you getting from your 2nd linked reference? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble nothing I said here, but I thought it might be of interest. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 21:37

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