Soyuz MS-22 to launch crew exchange mission with NASA

Soyuz MS-22 to launch crew exchange mission with NASA

The Soyuz MS-22 mission took off on September 21, 2022, and restarted regular missions of American astronauts aboard Russian crew vehicles to the International Space Station. However, this time around, Russia offered seats to NASA aboard Soyuz in exchange for Russian space agency astronauts on newly introduced American transport ships.

Previous mission: Soyuz MS-21

Soyuz MS-22 mission overview:

spacecraft naming Soyuz MS-22, 11F732 No. 751mission, ISS 68S
launch vehicle Soyuz-2-1a 14S53
payload streamlining 11S517A
spacecraft mass ~ 7152 kg
launch site Baikonur, Site 31, Pillow No. 6
Launch date and time 2022 September 21, 16:54:50 Moscow time (chart)
Docking date and time 2022 September 21 20:11 Moscow time (planned)
docking destination ISRassvet . unit MIM1 cardperigee port
Flight duration (planned) 6 months (188 days)
Landing date 2023 March 28
Basic crew at launch and landing Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitry Petlin and Frank Rubio
Backup crew Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and Loral O’Hara

Soyuz MS-22 mission planning

From 2020, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Anna Kekina were expected to fly aboard Soyuz MS-22 to begin the 68th long-distance flight aboard the International Space Station. However, by May 2021, Sergei Prokopyev, Anna Kekina and Dmitry Petlin were included in the crew of the Soyuz MS-22, while Kononenko was transferred to the follow-up mission. Roscosmos officially confirmed the crew on May 19, 2021. At the same time, Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and Andrei Fedyaev were publicly appointed as backup. However, by December 2021, Kikina was transferred to a US commercial crew (USCV-5) in an exchange program with NASA, so that an American astronaut could fly aboard the Soyuz MS-22.

On January 20, 2022, Roscosmos confirmed that US astronaut Frank Rubio would replace Kekina aboard Soyuz MS-22 if an exchange agreement with NASA was reached. In the following months, NASA and Roskosmos worked out the details of the deal for the crew exchange, starting with the Soyuz MS-22 mission. The agreement ensured that with any emergency departure of one crew vehicle from the ISS, the station would still have the second international crew working with specialists from the Russian and American divisions. NASA went ahead with the agreement despite the unspeakable brutality and bloodshed perpetrated by Russia in its gratuitous war against Ukraine.

By September 2021, the Soyuz MS-22 launch was changed in the ISS flight manifest from September 13 to September 21, 2022. Roscosmos confirmed the launch date as January 2, 2022, and set the launch time as 16:54 Moscow time. At that time, the Soyuz MS-22 mission was expected to last 188 days.

Soyuz MS-22 launch campaign

The spacecraft was shipped to Baikonur by rail on December 7, 2021, and arrived at the processing building at Site 254 on December 14, 2021. The mission rocket arrived at the Baikonur processing facility on June 29, 2022.

The mission’s active launch campaign began in early July 2022 at Site 254.

On September 5, the main and reserve crew arrived in Baikonur for final preparation and launch of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. On September 7, crew members conducted conventional identification exercises inside the flight-worthy spacecraft, which were undergoing final preparations inside the processing building. The next day, the Soyuz MS-22 was transferred to the gas station for loading fuel components and compressed gases.

On September 13, specialists from RKK Energia completed a final visual inspection of the spacecraft after which it was rolled inside the payload aerodynamic. The resulting load section was then raised to the vertical position again and returned to its processing platform. On September 15, the primary and reserve crew took their seats inside the vehicle for a final inspection of their spacecraft. Later in the day, the payload section was loaded onto a rail trailer and moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Position 31 for integration with the Soyuz-2-1a missile. The launch vehicle was moved to the launch pad on the morning of September 18, 2022.


The crew of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft conducts familiarization exercise within the flight-worthy craft on September 7, 2022.

Soyuz MS-22 launch profile

A Soyuz-2-1a rocket carrying the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Site 31 in Baikonur on September 21, 2022, at 16:54:50 Moscow time (9:54 a.m. EDT).

Driven by the simultaneous thrust of the four engines of the first stage and the single motor of the second stage, the rocket will head east to align its ascent trajectory with an orbital plane inclined 51.6 degrees toward the equator. A little less than two minutes into the flight, at an altitude of about 45 kilometers and at a speed of 1.75 kilometers per second, the ship’s main emergency missile will be disposed of, followed immediately by the separation of four first stage boosters. After about 35 seconds, as the spacecraft emerges from the dense atmosphere at an altitude of 79 kilometers and at a speed of 2.2 kilometers per second, the payload protecting the spacecraft splits in half and falls away.

The second (basic) stage of the rocket will continue to fire up to 4.8 minutes of flight. Moments before the second stage of its operation is complete, the four-chamber engine of the third stage will ignite and fire through the grating structure connecting the two stages. Moments after separating the main booster at an altitude of 157 kilometers and at a speed of 3.8 kilometers per second, the tail section of the third stage will split into three sections and also separate.

After a climb of 8 minutes and 49 seconds into orbit, the third stage of the Soyuz MS-22 rocket should launch into an initial orbit with an inclination of 51.6 degrees toward the equator.

The Soyuz MS-22 is scheduled to follow a three-and-a-half hour rendezvous with the station and docking at the nadir (land-facing) port of the Rassvet unit, MIM1, part of the Russian ISS sector, at 20:11 Moscow time (1:11 p.m. ET) United States) where it will remain for approximately six months until March 28, 2023. The hatch between the spacecraft and the station is scheduled to open at approximately 22:45 Moscow time (3:45 p.m. EDT).

Soyuz MS-22 crew members:

Soyuz commander

Sergei Prokopyev Follow Favorite

Oleg Kononenko (Roscosmos)

Flight Engineer 1

Dmitriy Petlin (Roscosmos)

Nikolai Chub (Roscosmos)

Aviation Engineer 2

Marco Rubio (NASA)

Loral O’Hara (NASA)

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