Soyuz MS-23 “Rescue craft” is launched to ISS but crew is told they have to wait another six months to come back to Earth

by | Feb 24, 2023 | International Space Station, Launches, Seradata News, space station

The uncrewed Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft was successfully launched onboard a Soyuz 2-1A from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan, at 0024 GMT on 24 February 2023.  Soyuz MS-23, a replacement for the coolant-leak damaged Soyuz MS-22, is expected to automatically dock with the ISS early on 26 February 2023.  Once docked, the Soyuz MS-22 will be discarded. The crew, Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin along with US astronaut Frank Rubio, which had been originally set to return in March on the Soyuz MS-22, have been told by Russia’s space agency/conglomerate Roscosmos that their six month stay on the space station will now be extended a further six months. They will return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-23 in September.  It is presumed that this decision has been done for cost reasons.  A micrometeoroid strike punctured the cooling system of the originally planned return craft Soyuz MS-22 making it unsafe to return in, except in extreme emergencies.

The International Space Station (ISS). Courtesy: NASA

Update on 27 February 2023: Soyuz MS-23 docked with the Poisk module at 0058 GMT on 26 February 2023.


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