The State Commission approved the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the Soyuz MS-23 unmanned spacecraft, on which the Russian-American crew of the damaged Soyuz MS-22 will return to Earth. Prior to this, the ship will spend 215 days in space, Roscosmos said before the launch on February 24.
“Today, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the state commission allowed the refueling of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with the Soyuz MS-23 unmanned spacecraft and its launch from the 31st pad at 03:24:29 Moscow time,” the report said. message state corporations.
The flight of the ship will take place according to a two-day scheme, automatic docking to the Russian small research module “Poisk” of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 4:01 on Sunday, February 26.
Soyuz MS-23 will stay in orbit for 215 days. The Russian-American crew of the damaged Soyuz MS-22, consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev, Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio, will return to Earth in the fall.
In addition to this task, the ship will deliver 429 kg of cargo to the ISS, including medical control and examination equipment, atmospheric cleanliness control and cleaning, gas composition, water supply and equipment for scientific experiments. On board the unmanned spacecraft there are also replacement equipment for the systems of the Russian segment of the station, sanitary and hygienic equipment, protection of astronauts from harmful effects, linen and containers with food rations.
On February 22, Sergey Krikalev, Executive Director for Manned Programs at Roscosmos State Corporation, said that the US-proposed option of placing Russian crew members of the faulty Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on the American Crew Dragon would have additional risks. Because of this, he had to give up.
Prokopiev, Petelin and Rubio were supposed to be delivered to Earth by the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. However, on December 15, 2022, it became known that his radiator of the cooling system was damaged. A leak has been reported from the cooling unit. Then the work of astronauts on spacewalks was suspended. As Yury Borisov, the head of Roskosmos, later clarified, the ship was depressurized due to a violation of the outer skin of the ship.
In the very unlikely event of another emergency situation that would require a quick evacuation of the entire ISS crew, Rubio’s seat was moved from the Russian Soyuz to the American Dragon.
On January 11, Roskosmos reported that the Soyuz MS-22 would undock and land one to two weeks after the Soyuz MS-23 arrived at the ISS. The landing of the ship is planned on the territory of Kazakhstan.
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