The Soyuz TM-31 launch vehicle is shown in the vertical position for its launch from Baikonur, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz launch vehicle is an expendable spacecraft that evolved out of the original Class A (Sputnik). From the early 1960s until today, the Soyuz launch vehicle has been the backbone of Russia's marned and unmanned space launch fleet. Today, the Soyuz launch vehicle is marketed internationally by a joint Russian/French consortium called STARSEM. As of August 2001, there have been ten Soyuz missions under the STARSEM banner.