While Russia struggles with Soyuz, SpaceX maintains its manned flight to the ISS

SpaceX and NASA maintain their flight schedule to and from the ISS, despite the setbacks of the Soyuz MS-22 capsule. On the Russian side, however, the calendar is turned upside down.

Act as if nothing had happened. Neither SpaceX nor the US space agency intends to deprogram their next manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS). The two partners are still aiming for a start of the Crew-6 mission at the end of February 2923. On January 25, press briefings will take place to discuss the upcoming flight more generally.

The two partners are obviously not unaware that, on the Russian side, the very last weeks have been turned upside down with the setbacks of the Soyuz MS-22 capsule. Hit from the outside, probably by a debris or a micro-meteorite, it is considered unusable to convey a crew. In fact, the Russian planning of manned flights is disrupted.

In mid-January, NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, took stock of the situation. It was decided not to use it to repatriate the three passengers initially planned (the Russians Sergei Prokopiev and Dimitri Peteline and the American Frank Rubio). This capsule will soon be separated from the ISS and will return to Earth, without anyone on board, but perhaps with freight.

The crew of Crew-6. // Source: SpaceX

Unchanged schedule for SpaceX and NASA

The International Space Station has enough entry points to accommodate up to six capsules or freighters simultaneously. When the concern affecting Soyuz MS-22 was detected, five other vessels were moored: the Crew-5 capsule, the CRS-26 freighter, as well as the Cygnus-18, Progress 81 and Progress 82 vessels.

Liftoff of the Crew-6 mission is scheduled for February 26. This will be the sixth manned flight organized by SpaceX to the ISS, as part of its missions on behalf of NASA. The four astronauts (two Americans, an Emirati and a Russian) will stay for six months at an altitude of nearly 400 km. The flight will depart from Florida.

On the Russian side, the MS-23 mission was initially planned for the month of March, with three people on board (two Russians and one American). But, given the problems with Soyuz MS-22, it will leave much earlier, from February 20. It will leave empty, in order to serve as a transport vehicle to bring back the passengers who should have returned with MS-22.

Regarding the planning of the Americans, Crew-6 must therefore arrive at the end of February. The Crew-5 crew will be leaving, with a return to Earth scheduled for March. In this traffic, it is also necessary to take into account the circulation of supply cargo ships, but also other occasional missions… such as the test of the manned mission with Starliner.

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