What happens to Soyuz reentry capsules after landing?

I guess some must go to museums, but quite a lot of them have returned now. Is there any indication of where and how they are stored?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's actually a really good question. I couldn't find any information, other than that they are not reusable. I assume that they are probably stripped for parts. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Phiteros so they are partially reusable ? :p $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ I have no idea. But I figure that the interior can at least be reused. It's probably just a difference between "reusable with a little work" and "basically needs replacing entirely". $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Phiteros To be honest I was thinking about asking it in a follow up question :-) $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ Now under the seat lies a black box(reusable). $\endgroup$
    – Isrorian
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


There were more than 500 Zenit (including Vostoks and Voskhods) landing capsules; an order of 160 (as of today) manned and unmanned Soyuz variants. Plus prototypes used for modelling and testing on the ground. That's a pretty large number of used capsules.

There are 65 pieces of equipment certified for reuse in Soyuz TMA landing module. Such as cosmonaut seats or flight recorders. There are radioactive pieces (gamma ray altimeter) and other dangerous or valuable pieces that are removed.

After that the shell is utilized one way or another.

Many go to museums.

In general, this image search should give you an idea.

For example some are displayed in RSC Energia in-house museum.

enter image description here

photo from krapich blog

Outside German Titov's museum: German Titov museum

photo from German Titov memorial museum

A piece of Prokopyevsk regional museum exhibition: Prokopyevsk museum

photo from Kemerovskaya oblats

A piece of Tsiolkovsky museum exhibition: Tsiolkovsky musem photo from Skorokhod blog

There is some amount stored on the temporary storage pad awaiting utilization.

enter image description here

photo from Mark Serov's blog

Another location we have photos of is probably the white brick building behind the temporary storage pad, but the author of the photos doesn't disclose the location. Not all of those have been into space. The the black-and-white, for example, seems to be a piece of testing equipment.

enter image description here

photo from saoirse-2010 blog

  • $\begingroup$ I seem to recall a space tourist wanting to buy the reentry capsule, and was denied. It's good to see they are being put to good use! $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ I have edited the answer so that it doesn't look too pessimistic featuring the junk yard photos. $\endgroup$
    – user54
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto The Intrepid museum in NYC has a Soyuz "on loan from Greg Olsen". Don't know if he purchased it or they gave it to him, but one way or another he apparently owns it now. intrepidmuseum.org/SOYUZTMA6Spacecraft $\endgroup$
    – nobody
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 0:54

Many are put on display, some just end in a junkyard

Location of Russian Manned Spacecraft lists objects on display.

Edited quote from the Soyuz spacecraft: post-landing and recovery post on Collectspace.com:

Some of the spacecraft flown during Intercosmos missions are now on exhibit in the countries from where their international crew members hailed.

- Soyuz 29, onboard which Sigmund Jähn flew, is at the Deutsches Museum für Meisterwerke der Naturwissenschaft and Technik (Deutsches Museum, for short) at Munich. - Miroslaw Hermaszewski's Soyuz 30 is in Warsaw, Poland.
- Soyuz T-6, which launched Jean-Loup Chrétien, is on display at the Musee de l'Air near Paris (where the Paris Air Show is staged).
- Soyuz TM-10 is at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. It was sold at Sotheby's in 1993 for $1.65 million to the Ross Perot Foundation, which in turn loaned it to the museum.
- In 2000, Spacehab offered the Soyuz TM-26 descent module for direct sale, and then auctioned it through Superior Galleries. To my knowledge, it failed to meet its reserve.

Unlike in the U.S., where the flown spacecraft are property of the government, the Soyuz belong to its manufacturer, RSC Energia. As such, the company's museum outside Moscow is probably the best place to see multiple Soyuz on display.
The majority of the flown capsules are said to be kept in a Soyuz "junkyard" owned by Energia.

Another post at CollectSpace: Russian Soyuz spacecraft on public display also contains some snippets of information.

I was unable to find information about that 'Energia junkyard', but look at this abandoned Buran in ist construction hangar (photos by Ralph Mirebs)

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ So, in 100 years we have gone from wood and canvas kites to spaceship junkyards. Good times. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ i think that Buran is only a mockup for testing $\endgroup$
    – pastullo
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ @pastullo That would be interesting, but please back that up with actual information. The internet is already full of 'I think'. Jonathan O'Callaghan (see link) writes they're prototypes. $\endgroup$
    – user10509
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen so apparently one is a 95% finished Buran and the other one is a mockup: popsci.com/why-soviet-space-shuttle-was-left-rot#page-2 $\endgroup$
    – pastullo
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ There is another Soyuz in a german museum in Speyer. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 14:42

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