Featured image credit: ROSCOSMOS
Lift Off Time
|September 21, 2022 – 14:54 UTC|
|MS-22, crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS)|
|Launch Complex 31/6, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan|
|7,080 kg (15,610 Ib) (for the whole spacecraft)|
Where is the spacecraft going?
|It will rendezvous with the ISS, ~400 km low Earth orbit (LEO) at a 51.66° inclination|
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Where will the first stage land?
|The boosters will crash into the steppes of Kazakhstan|
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Are these fairings new?
How’s the weather looking?
This will be the:
|– 7th Soyuz 2.1a mission in 2022|
– 64th Soyuz 2.1 a mission overall
– 119th orbital launch attempt of 2022
Where to watch
|If available, an official livestream will be listed here|
What Does All This Mean?
ROSCOSMOS are set to launch Soyuz MS-22 to the International Space Station (ISS) on 21 September 2022. This launch will see three new crew members join the station, cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin, and astronaut Francisco Rubio. ROSCOSMOS will launch this mission using a Soyuz MS spacecraft atop a Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle, from Launch Complex 31/6, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission is expected to last for 188 days, with the crew scheduled to return to Earth on 28 March, 2023.
Who Is On Soyuz MS-22?
The MS-22 crew will be comprised of two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut. The crew is Sergey Prokopyev (Commander), Dmitry Petelin (Flight Engineer 1), and Francisco Rubio (Flight Engineer 2). The MS-22 backup crew is made up of Oleg Kononenko (Commander), Nikolai Chub (Flight Engineer 1), and Loral O’Hara (Flight Engineer 2).
Commander: Sergey Prokopyev
MS-22 commander, Sergey Prokopyev, was selected as a Roscosmos cosmonaut in 2010, and graduated as a test cosmonaut in 2012. He then served as a flight engineer for Expedition 56/57, where he spent 197 days aboard the ISS. During Expedition 56/57, Prokopyev completed two EVAs.
MS-22 will mark Prokopyev’s second spaceflight.
Flight Engineer 1: Dmitry Petelin
Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitry Petelin was born in 1983. He studied at the South Ural State University, graduating in 2006 with a degree in aircraft and helicopter engineering. Petelin was then selected as a Roscosmos cosmonaut in 2012. He completed his training in 2014, thus being named a test cosmonaut.
The MS-22 mission will be Petelin’s first journey to space!
Flight Engineer 2: Francisco Rubio
Francisco Rubio is an American army major, helicopter pilot, flight surgeon, and NASA astronaut. He was born in Los Angeles in 1975. Rubio attended the United States Military Academy, graduation with a degree in international relations.
Rubio was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Group 22 in 2017. Like his crew-mate Petelin, MS-22 will be Rubio’s first spaceflight!
Soyuz MS-22 Mission’s Profile
Approximate Timeline (Based On The Soyuz MS-18 Mission)
|– 00:00:15||Engine start sequence|
|+ 00:01:53||Escape tower jettison|
|+ 00:01:58||First stage separation|
|+ 00:02:33||Fairing jettison|
|+ 00:04:47||Second stage separation|
|+ 00:04:55||Tail section separation|
|+ 00:08:46||Third stage main engine cutoff|
|+ 00:08:49||Soyuz MS separation|
What Is Soyuz 2.1a?
ROSCOSMOS’s Soyuz is a multi-use medium-lift launch vehicle that was introduced in far 1966 and since then has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program. It is capable to launch civilian and military satellites, as well as cargo and crewed missions to the ISS. Over the decades, several variants of the Soyuz rocket have been developed. Soyuz 2.1a is one of its latest iterations that belongs to the Soyuz-2 rocket family.
The rocket consists of three stages, all of them are expendable. When launching to the ISS, Soyuz-2 can be flown with either a Progress capsule or a Soyuz spacecraft. On the Soyuz MS-22 mission, the Soyuz MS spacecraft will be used.
Soyuz 2.1a is about 46.3 meters (152 ft) in height and 2.95 meters (9 feet) in diameter. The vehicle’s total lift-off mass is approximately 312,000 kg (688,000 lb). The rocket’s payload lift capacity to low-Earth orbit (LEO) is between 6,600 and 7,400 kg depending on the launch site.
|First Stage||Second Stage||Third Stage|
|Total Thrust||840 kN (188,720 lbf), |
1,020 kN (229,290 lbf),
|792 kN (178,140 lbf),|
922 kN (207,240 lbf),
|298 kN (67,000 lbf),|
|Specific Impulse (ISP)||263 s, sea level|
320 s, vacuum
|258 s, sea level|
321 s, vacuum
|326 s, vacuum|
The first stage of the Soyuz 2.1a rocket is composed of four side boosters that are powered by RD-107A engines. Each one of the boosters has a conical shape and a dry weight of 3,784 kg. It is approximately 19.6 meters in length, with a diameter of 2.7 meters. Each side booster has two vernier thrusters that are used for flight control.
The RD-107A engine runs on rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen (LOx). The propellants are stored in the pressurized aluminum alloy tanks, the kerosene tank is located in the cylindrical part of the booster, and the LOx one is in the conical section. Each one of those engines has four combustion chambers and together they are capable of producing a thrust of 840 kN at sea level and 1,020 kN in a vacuum.
Perhaps, the most spectacular moment of the Soyuz-2 rocket’s launch is the separation of the first stage. It happens approximately two minutes after the launch. The boosters perform a pattern, known as the “Korolev cross” (named after Sergei Korolev, a very important figure of the USSR space program and history).
Second And Third Stages
The center core stage is powered by a single RD-108A engine, and the upper stage is fitted with a single RD-0110 engine. Both of these engines run on rocket-grade kerosene and LOx and have four combustion chambers. The second stage is 27.10 meters long, with a diameter of 2.95 meters, and a dry mass of 6,545 kg. It has four vernier thrusters for three-axis flight control.
The third stage of a Soyuz-2 rocket has a height of 6.7 meters, a diameter of 2.7 meters, and a dry mass of 2,355 kg. One interesting thing about the engine on this stage is that it starts its ignition sequence prior to stage separation. This process is called “hot fire staging”.
Soyuz MS Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS spacecraft is the latest version of Russia’s long-standing three-person spacecraft. Soyuz capsules first flew in the 1960s. The spacecraft’s external appearance is largely unchanged over this time. However, the internal systems and capabilities have been upgraded many times.
The Soyuz MS variant is one of the versions from the fourth generation of this spacecraft. Its first flight was in 2006. Soyuz consists of three sections:
- the orbital module
- the descent module
- the service module
The Orbital Module
This is the forward section of the spacecraft, the part that docks to the ISS. It is the part of the spacecraft where the crew will spend most of their time on orbit. It has more living room than the descent module. On the Progress uncrewed resupply missions, this is replaced by a cargo module.
The Descent Module
This is the middle section of the spacecraft. It is the only part that returns intact to land on Earth. This is where the crew will sit during the launch and the reentry. They will be wearing spacesuits in case of capsule depressurization. There is very little room for the crew of three in this module. On the Progress uncrewed resupply missions, this is replaced by a refueling module that can transfer fuel into the Russian segment. This can then be used by thrusters on the ISS to boost its orbit.
The Service Module
This is the aft (rear) section of the spacecraft. It provides the main engine used for manoeuvring on orbit and the thrusters for fine control during docking and departure. Also, it also contains the life support system for environmental control of the rest of the spacecraft. In addition, it also supports the solar panels and various radio communication systems.
Kurs-NA Automatic Docking System
Like the Soyuz spacecraft, Progress MS is equipped with a Kurs-NA automatic docking system that was first tested on the Progress M-15M mission in July 2012. Compared to its ancestor, Kurs-A, the new system has only one AO-753A rendezvous antenna. Kurs-A had five (two 2AO-VKA and three AKR-VKA) of them. This antenna broadcasts radar pulses that are needed to determine the altitude and relative position of the spacecraft to the ISS. Moreover, Kurs-NA uses less power than Kurs-A.
In addition, the Soyuz spacecraft can be docked to the ISS manually by the docking system called the Tele-Robotically Operated Rendezvous unit (TORU). This manual system serves as a backup to Kurs-NA in emergency situations and is located inside the Zvezda service module.
Rocket section adapted from Mariia Kiseleva