Russian Replacement Soyuz Spacecraft Docks to the Space Station

Soyuz MS-23 Spacecraft Approaching Space Station

The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft is seen approaching the Poisk module of the space station prior to docking at 7:58 p.m. EST as the space station was flying 260 miles above northern Mongolia. Credit: NASA TV

At 7:58 p.m. EST, the uncrewed Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Poisk module. The spacecraft launched at 7:24 p.m. EST on February 23 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Soyuz is delivering 946 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station.

This new Soyuz will replace the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft following a radiator coolant leak on December 14, 2022. The Soyuz MS-22 transported NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin to the space station last September. The three crew members will return to Earth on the new Soyuz MS-23 later this year.

The damaged Soyuz MS-22 is scheduled to undock from the station in late March and return to Earth for an uncrewed parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan, and post-flight analysis by Roscosmos.

Soyuz Spacecraft

Soyuz spacecraft. From 2011 when the Space Shuttle was retired to the 2020 demo flight of SpaceX Crew Dragon, the Soyuz spacecraft was the sole means of transporting crew to or from the International Space Station. Due to this, the Soyuz has continued to be heavily relied upon for these missions. Credit: NASA

The Soyuz is a type of spacecraft that was originally developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s as part of the Vostok program for human spaceflight. Since then, it has been extensively used by both the Soviet and Russian space agencies for a wide range of missions, including transporting cosmonauts and astronauts to and from space stations like Mir and the International Space Station (ISS), launching robotic missions to other planets, and conducting scientific research in microgravity.

The Soyuz spacecraft consists of three modules: the orbital module, the descent module, and the service module. It is launched on top of a Soyuz rocket and returns to Earth via parachute landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Overall, the Soyuz has proven to be a reliable and versatile spacecraft, and continues to play an important role in human spaceflight today.

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