MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. The damaged Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft will return to Earth crewless on March 28, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos said on Friday.
"Today, the state commission met in session at Roscosmos corporation to approve the return of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from the International Space Station to Earth on March 28," Roscosmos said.
The vehicle’s undocking from the Rassvet research module of the Russian segment of the ISS is scheduled for 12:57 p.m. Moscow time. The landing of the descent capsule southeast of the Kazakh city of Jezkazgan is expected at 02:45 p.m. Moscow time.
"The cosmonauts are already placing the cargoes to be disposed of inside the Soyuz MS-22’s utility compartment and the returning cargoes, in its descent capsule. About 218 kilograms of cargoes, including the results of scientific experiments and ISS equipment for analysis or reuse are expected to be returned to Earth on the Soyuz MS-22," Roscosmos said.
After the undocking of the Soyuz MS-22, the ordinal number of the crew of the long-term expedition to the ISS will change from 68 to 69.
"Once again, it will change after the undocking of the Soyuz MS-23 in the second half of 2023 from 69 to 70," the space corporation said.
On December 15, 2022, the external loop of the Soyuz MS-22’s thermal control system developed a leak. The state commission decided in favor of the damaged Soyuz MS-22’s crewless re-entry. Russia’s cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA’s astronaut Frank Rubio will fly back home on the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft. Their mission had to be prolonged by several months. Experts in the Russian space rocket industry have found out that a sporadic meteoroid impact damaged the Soyuz MS-22 vehicle.