KOROLYOV /Moscow Region/, March 28. /TASS/. The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that experienced a coolant leak in December last year undocked from the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) for its return to Earth in crewless mode, a TASS correspondent reported from the Flight Control Center on Tuesday.
The Soyuz MS-22 spaceship is set to touch down in the accustomed area southeast of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan at 2:45 p.m. Moscow time. The spacecraft will bring about 218 kg of cargo to Earth, including the results of scientific experiments and the station’s equipment for analysis and repeat use.
In particular, the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft will bring back to Earth the spacesuit’s storage battery that ran out of charge during the spacewalk by cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveyev in August last year, the results of the Kaskad (Cascade) mushroom cultivation experiment and the Probiovit research into creating a probiotic beverage in outer space.
The braking maneuver will allow the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft to leave the orbit. The habitation module with removable cargo and the equipment compartment will detach from the descent capsule and subsequently burn out in the dense layers of the atmosphere. Upon its re-entry, the descent capsule will commence aeroballistic braking, creating a plasma cloud of around 2,000 degrees around it. Following its deceleration in the dense layers of the atmosphere, the descent capsule will continue its braking maneuver with the help of parachutes. The descent capsule will fire soft landing thrusters before it touches down.
The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft named after the renowned Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky set off for the ISS on September 21, 2022 to deliver Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to the orbital outpost. The launch was the first liftoff under the 2022 Roscosmos-NASA agreement on seat swap flights.
On December 15, 2022, the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked to the orbital outpost experienced a coolant leak on its external radiator. After analyzing the situation, Russia’s state commission made a decision to bring the damaged Soyuz spacecraft back to Earth in crewless mode and return Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio whose mission was prolonged for several months aboard the Soyuz MS-23 spaceship.
Russian space industry specialists have carried out special investigations to find out that the Soyuz MS-22 was damaged by a sporadic micrometeoroid.