Soyuz MS-23 Launch to the International Space Station

Soyuz MS-23 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on 2023-02-24 at 00:34 UTC. The launch will be from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz will launch without a crew and dock with the International Space Station. Once docked, the custom-moulded seat liners for the crew which arrived on Soyuz MS-22, Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, will be installed in the MS-23 reentry module. The Soyuz will then serve as the emergency return lifeboat for these ISS crew members and to return them at the end of their stay on the station.

This unusual mission was required due to the damage to the Soyuz MS-22 ship that launched them to the ISS on 2022-09-21, then sprung a leak in its cooling system, attributed to a micrometeroid impact. MS-22 will be returned to Earth without a crew.

This is the first time an unmanned Soyuz has been launched to return a crew in space since Soyuz 34 in 1979, which was launched to return the crew that launched on Soyuz 32 from the Salyut 6 space station after Soyuz 33, the planned crew rotation and return vehicle, failed to dock with the station due to a maneuvering engine failure.

Here is more information on the flight from Spaceflight Now.


Launch was on-time and successful. Docking with the ISS is scheduled for Sunday morning, 2023-02-26 around 02:00 UTC. I will post a player for a live stream of the docking when it is announced.


Docking with the International Space Station is scheduled for 01:01 UTC on 2023-02-26. Coverage of the approach to the station will start about an hour before the scheduled docking time. The docking will also be covered on NASA TV.

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