A quick search the meaning of the abbreviations for the previous versions of the Soyuz spacecraft easily tells me their meaning:

  • Soyuz T. 'T' is for транспортный, transport.
  • Souyz TM. The 'M' is for модифицированный, modified.
  • Soyuz TMA. The 'A' is for антропометрический, anthropometric.
  • Soyuz TMA-M. What is the 'M'?
  • Soyuz TMA-MS. And what is the 'S'?

I know there are more than one designation system, for instance, reading through my notes, the TMA-M had the internal designation 11F732A47. But the TMA-MS name (or just MS) is in common use, so I believe the M and the S must mean something. I am not able to figure it out, so what is it?

  • $\begingroup$ I've heard a few comments elsewhere the "MS" is really "MC" in Russian. (No idea how it would be pronounced though.) I'm not sure if this information helps or hinders though... $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 16:52
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ There is no letter "S" in Cyrillic: the "C" Cyrillic character is pronounced like the English "S" $\endgroup$
    – 1337joe
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 16:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think (but have no source for yet) that the additional "M" stands for модернизированы or "modernized". $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'd agree with "modernized" - the M and MS versions had a lot of computer, display and electrical improvements see Wikipedia page on Soyuz-MS. (It's not clear from this page exactly what features were new for which model, though.) $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ Actually its much simple it happen to me with russian mc/ms-21 plane. Its simply check military planes for some knowledge. Like they have su35s , mig31m ,etc. $\endgroup$
    – Isrorian
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


According to this news website, "MS" stands for "modernized systems" (модернизированные системы).

  • $\begingroup$ That is a quite long name if you expand it then: Союз транспортный модифицированный антропометрический модернизированные системы. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ I thought S/C might stand for systems/системы, but I wasn't sure. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:48

This doesn't answer the question as well as the existing answer, but I ended up with some good supplementary information even if I couldn't find references for the 'M' and 'S' letters so I'm posting as an answer anyway.

The Russian wikipedia page for Союз actually doesn't fully agree with the listing you have (with much thanks to the google translate of the page because my Russian isn't really that good):

  • «Союз Т» (Т — транспортный) = "Soyuz T" (T - transport)
  • «Союз ТМ» (ТМ — транспортный модернизированный) = "Soyuz TM" (TM - modernized transport)
  • «Союз ТМА» (А — антропометрический) = "Soyuz TMA" (A - anthropometric)
  • «Союз TMA-M» = Soyuz TMA-M
    • I couldn't actually find anything (that page, it's references, other searches in English and Russian) that spelled it out explicitly, but several of the pages referred to the changes between this and the previous version being модернизированных, or "modernized", systems.
  • «Союз MC» = Soyuz MS
    • Note that most, if not all, of the references I found called it Soyuz MS, not Soyuz TMA-MS. This is expected to be the last iteration on the Soyuz design, to be eventually replaced by «Федерация», or "Federation".
    • For completeness, as per the accepted answer this is модернизированные системы, or Modernized Systems
  • $\begingroup$ модернизированных means "of modernized", not "modernization". $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ A good summary, have an upvote :) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Fixed, thanks. I can pick out words but mostly rely on google translate, which is far from perfect. $\endgroup$
    – 1337joe
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 17:54

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