Updated: Sep 22, 2022
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 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.
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.