Roscosmos launching ISS-68 Crew to Space Station today

Updated: Sep 22

Soyuz MS-22 takes off with two Russians and an American Astronaut

The launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket (S15000-51) with the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft carrying the 68th expedition to the International Space Station is scheduled for September 21, 2022 at 4:54:49 pm Moscow time (13:54:49 UTC). On September 18, the rocket was transported from the MIK 254 assembly and test building to launch complex 6 at area 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where, after installing it in an upright position, the Roscosmos companies began to prepare for the release. The main crew of the spacecraft (11F732A48 serial number 751) is composed of Commander Sergei Prokopiev (from Roscosmos), Flight Engineer-1 Dmitry Petelin, a native of Kazakhstan – also from Roscosmos – and Flight Engineer-2 Frank Rubio, from NASA. Their replacements are Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara. The mission should last six months. The flight to the ISS is expected to take place according to the standard three hours between takeoff and docking with the Rassvet module.

Soyuz MS-22 Prime/Backup crew at Quarantine Press meet

Soyuz is scheduled to dock with Rassvet at around 1:11 pm EDT (1711 GMT) after a two-orbit flight. About two hours after docking, the hatches between the Soyuz and the space station will open and Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will be greeted by Expedition 67 commander Oleg Artemyev and Roscosmos cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov; NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins; and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will spend about six months on the space station. This will be Prokopyev's second flight into space and the first for Petelin and Rubio. Rubio is the first NASA astronaut to fly under the new crew swap agreement since American commercial crew flights began flying.

The Soyuz MS-22 is to deliver to the ISS sanitary and hygienic supplies and medical control, on-board documentation and consumable items for service equipment, clothing and personal belongings of cosmonauts, feed and fresh food, as well as packaging for Econ-M scientific experiments. , Biofilm, Interaction-2, Biomag-M, MSK-2, FAGEN, Cardiovector, Cytomechanarium and Reflex. Commander Prokopiev said that experiments with the 3D printer have already started at the station, but the main work will be left to his team. The first results will be brought to Earth by the crew of the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft, which is due to return on September 29.

Soyuz-2.1a rocket number S15000-051 mounted on the platform at Area 31/6 in Baikonur Cosmodrome

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MS-22 Crew

MS-22 Crew

Cosmonaut Prokopiev said he would take his daughter's jewelry and grandson's cross with him on the flight to remind him of his family as he works at the station. "First of all, these are my daughter's jewelry and my grandson's cross, these are the things that will warm my heart," Prokopiev told a news conference. Prokopiev was born on February 19, 1975 and became a grandfather in 2021. He clarified that crews often carry personal belongings, photos of friends and relatives. His crewmate Dmitry Petelin decided to take his eldest daughter's drawings with him, as well as a talisman that her grandfather used in World War II. American astronaut Rubio takes family photos and small objects of his children that “will be a nice gift” when he returns home.


Homage to the pioneer Tsiolkovsky


mission badge

The spacecraft was named Tsiolkovsky in honor of the 165th anniversary of the birth of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Russian scientist, inventor, and founder of space exploration theory. The rocket's head fairing bears a portrait of the scientist and the inscription “165 years since the birth of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. The crew emblem is made in the form of a circle. At the top are applied: the crew's call sign, “Altai”, and the flags of the countries participating in the flight (Russia on the left, the USA on the right). In the same field below, the names of the expedition members are entered. At the top of the inner circle is presented: at the top a stylized image of the station, and at the bottom an image of the spacecraft. Underneath the spacecraft is the name and serial number of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, whose flight direction points to the ISS. Below is an image of Earth. The ISS is surrounded by three stars, corresponding to the number of crew members on the spacecraft. The swan symbolizes the crew commander, Colonel of the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation Prokopiev, who flew Tu-160 aircraft during his military service – which Russian pilots call the “White Swan”. To the right of the three stars is a stylized image of a turtle, symbolizing the name of the 2017 NASA astronaut ensemble, the Turtles, of which Franco Rubio is a member. Next to the swan is a sail-shaped figure, formed by three arcs of circles, whose radii are proportional to the radii of the three celestial bodies: the Earth, Mars and the Moon. This is the emblem of the recruitment for the Roscosmos cosmonaut corps, in which Dmitry Petelin was selected.

Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Carlos Rubio came from humble beginnings, raised by a single teenage mother in southwest Miami. More than 30 years after joining the Army, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot will make his first flight into space when he departs Baikonur for the space station. Rubio said his mother, an immigrant from El Salvador, raised him in an environment that encouraged hard work. “One of the most important things my mom taught me growing up is that despite the challenges we faced, nothing was an excuse,” he said. “I had to work and move on and luckily that instilled in me a really good work ethic.” Rubio, who enlisted in the Army in 1998 to pay for college, earned a doctorate in medicine and had an extensive military career. He flew over 1,100 hours, including around 600 during deployments in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also obtained his 'Jumpmaster' certification and performed over 650 skydiving jumps.


Rocket Decals: Tribute to FMBA and Letter from Novgorod

The FBMA will also be honored at this launch, having its logo applied in a sticker to the tail section of the third stage ('block I') of the rocket: The agency is the national public health institute of the Russian Federation, a federal entity linked to the Ministry of Health and based on the Volokolamsk Highway in Moscow. It was created as Third Main Directorate of the Soviet Ministry of Health in 1947 – then renamed Federal/Main Directorate for Biomedical and Extreme Affairs in 1991. It kept this name until 11 October 2004, when it was renamed to its current name. During the Soviet regime, since 1947, the Third Main Directorate of the Ministry of Health was responsible for these functions.

Today, its main objective is “to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury and disability”. The Agency focuses national attention on the development and application of disease control and prevention. It especially focuses its attention on infectious diseases, foodborne pathogens, environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, injury prevention and educational activities aimed at improving the health of Russian citizens. In addition, FMBA researches and provides information on non-infectious diseases. The agency is also responsible for the Russian blood bank.

Another ceremony that will be performed in this quest includes the Novgorod Letter. The Novgorod delegation will deliver a copy of the birch bark document to Baikonur. A delegation of eight students and two students from the Novgorod region in an action to be carried out as part of the cooperation between the regional government and Roscosmos. The delegation will deliver a copy of birch bark found in Veliky Novgorod to the cosmodrome on 19 and 23 September. The delegation included high-performing students in their subject areas. The program of the stay includes a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome during the Soyuz 2.1a launch campaign with the Soyuz MS-22. Along with the launch vehicle, a copy of birch bark letter #10, found at the Nerevsky excavation site in Veliky Novgorod, will go into space. The letter dates from the mid-14th century and reads as follows: “There is hail between heaven and earth. The ambassador goes to him without a path, he is mute, he carries an unwritten letter. According to scientists, the passage is a reference to Noah's Ark.

On July 26, 1951, at the Nerevsky excavation site an archaeological expedition led by A. V. Artsikhovsky discovered the first birch bark document containing a list of feudal duties. Information about the use of birch bark as a writing material in Ancient Russia was known for a long time, including from the writings of medieval authors. The first ancient Russian writing on birch bark, a small letter from a commoner who lived in the 15th century, was discovered during these archaeological excavations. Excavations began in 1932, but it was not until 1951 that archaeologists moved to the Nerevsky side of town. On July 26, 1951, a member of the expedition found this piece of birch bark with a text in Russian. By the end of the field season, the expedition had nine more similar documents. Later, birch bark letters were found in excavations in Moscow, Pskov, Smolensk, Staraya Russa, Tver, Torzhok, Vitebsk, Mstislavl, and Zvenigorod Galitsky. Today their number has surpassed one thousand. The oldest birch bark letters date to the first half of the 11th century and the last to the mid-15th century.


The discovery of birch bark letters opened a new page in the study of the history of the Russian language and expanded scientists' understanding of the characteristics of the life of a medieval person. Unlike ancient Russian chronicles, birch bark lettering texts are full of everyday details. Most of the letters contain letters, there are also various records, labels, drafts of documents, exercises for students, alphabets, incantations, and church texts. Everyday topics determined the form of presentation – most documents are written in Old Russian colloquial language. The idea of ​​sending one of the birch bark letters to the International Space Station, proposed by a student from Novgorod, was supported by Russian cosmonauts. This event will be timed to coincide with the 1,160th anniversary of the birth of the state in Russia, which is celebrated in 2022. On the third stage of the rocket, additional symbols are attached, dedicated to the birth of the Russian state and the 1,140th anniversary of the prince's campaign. Oleg against Kyiv.


Pop Culture

Actress / Cosmonaut Yulia Peresild

Actress Yulia Peresild and the Russian space movie "Challenge" crew revisit Baikonur Cosmodrome to finish shooting a sequential movie portion, before MS-22 Launch Day.

Peresild said

It was an unforgettable shoot. The heaviest. Sleepless. Up at 3 am. With appointments. With the conversations. Historically and absolutely happy Flying Moscow-Baikonur-Moscow. Meeting through the glass with the crew of Sergei Prokopiev, the cat starts on September 21. We met Oleg Novitsky, Sergei Yurievich Romanov, met from afar with our instructors, crew doctors, and the cat prepared us last year. Baikonur. You are beautiful. Feels a lot. Each object returns a year back to what happened to us. Rocket on the start table. A staircase to a rocket. Elevator . And the entrance to the ship 🚀 breathed in sharp memories. Well, that's almost it, just a little bit left and the shooting period of the movie "Challenge" will end.

The Challenge movie crew; Actress Yulia Peresild and Director Klim Shipenko visited ISS last September onboard Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft with their Cosmonaut Commander Anton Shkaplerov, the movie crew completed an important portion of filming during their two weeks stay at Orbiting Laboratory with the cooperation of Soyuz MS-18 and SpaceX USCV-2 Crew of ISS Expedition-65.



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