The new upgraded Soyuz MS-01 was launched successfully on its Maiden voyage on July 7, 2016 at 1:36 UTC from Baikonur Cosmodrome bringing the new Expedition 48 crew, comprised of Soyuz commander Anatoly Ivanishin, Japanese flight engineer Takuya Onishi and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. The Soyuz MS-01 is planned to dock to the Rassvet module 2 days after launch.
The upgraded Soyuz MS (“Modernized Systems”) features improved navigation, communications and rendezvous systems. Most of the upgrades replace obsolete electronic accessories, improve crew safety and give pilots and Mission Control more flexibility in flying the ship. Most of the new systems were already flight-proven on unmanned Progress cargo ships.
Other upgrades include new Micrometeoroid debris panels on the Orbital Module and new Solar panels with more power.
Following this upgrade, the Soyuz is expected to remain in its role until mid 2020s, when a new generation Russian spacecraft “Federation” will be ready.
Soyuz TMA/TMA-M and MS version comparison
The following photos show the instruments and antennas from Soyuz TMA/TMA-M no longer used for the Soyuz MS variant. These have been removed. (Red circles)
At a range of about 350 meters, the Soyuz got into the approach corridor leading to the Rassvet module’s docking port.
On July 9, 2016 at 12:06 am, the Soyuz MS-01 docked to the Rassvet Russian module.
SoyuzMS1100ISS Soyuz MS-01 in 1:100 scale
SoyuzProgressmanual General manual for Soyuz and Progress
Source: Thanks to Anik from RussianSpaceWeb.com for providing technical data.