Yesterday, Russia launched the uncrewed Soyuz M-23 mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (it was actually “today” in Russian time). The spacecraft will replace the damaged M-22 capsule attached to the International Space Station (ISS). As a result, the earlier M-22 crew of Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, will return in this replacement capsule.
NASA noted that the M-22 capsule will be studied by the Russian upon its return in March:
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.
Given recent leaks on two Russian spacecraft, let’s hope the M-23 mission goes without a hitch. Fingers crossed.
SpaceX will also be shipping a new crew up to the ISS next week, so the space traffic continues even with these hiccups.