Roscosmos to Launch Soyuz MS-23 Mission to ISS on Feb 24
On February 24, 2023, at 00:24 UTC, the Russian space corporation, Roscosmos, will launch its uncrewed Soyuz MS-23 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission was prompted by the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that suffered a thermal control system leak on the ISS on December 15, 2022. The MS-23 will replace the MS-22 and was initially scheduled to launch on February 19; however, the launch was delayed due to a second coolant leak on the Progress MS-21 cargo vehicle. After the agency completed its investigation of the damage, the launch date was moved up to February 24.
The mission aims to bring two cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut, Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin, and Frank Rubio, back to Earth in September. The trio was originally scheduled to return this March, however, the leaky Soyuz MS-22 capsule has forced them to extend their stay on the space station for six additional months.
The leak was likely caused by a small meteoroid colliding with the MS-22's radiator, Sergei Krikalev, director of crewed space flight programs at Roscosmos, said. Roscosmos released a photograph of the impact site on the Progress vehicle, as well as a photograph of the damage the Soyuz MS-22 capsule sustained back in December, providing comparison of the two sites.
NASA is also preparing to launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft early Monday morning carrying Crew-6 astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, along with cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and Emerati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi. Following this, Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio’s time will be extended on the space station until they can return to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-23 later this year. This return could happen in September, according to a report from Russia state-run media outlet TASS. To watch the launch of the MS-23 mission, viewers can tune into NASA Television, which will be live-streamed on Space.com.
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