The Don’t Call It a Rescue mission to the ISS and more

JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata during his second spacewalk on February 2, 2023.
photo: NASA

The stage is set for the launch of an unmanned rescue vehicle to the International Space Station in an important mission that will allow three astronauts to breathe a little easier once their lifeboat finally arrives.

The Soyuz MS-23 mission, the debut of a brand new rocket, and two SpaceX flights – these are some of our favorite topics for the coming week.

Launch of the ISS rescue mission, which NASA says is not a rescue mission

Russia plans to launch an unmanned Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft to the International Space Station on Sunday, February 19 at 20:57 ET. NASA will broadcast the event below NASA televisionwith the show beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The vehicle is a replacement for the damaged Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that Russia says it was hit by micrometeorite in December and was subsequently deemed unsuitable for a manned return trip to Earth. In response, Russia accelerated the Soyuz MS-23 mission to ensure three crew members, namely NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, have a reliable trip home.

The supply ship ISS Progress 81 departs the ISS on February 7, 2023.

The supply ship ISS Progress 81 departs the ISS on February 7, 2023.
photo: NASA

The current situation is not ideal, as two of the three astronauts would probably remain in the damaged MS-22 in an emergency (Rubio has a seat aboard a docked Crew Dragon). The apparent micrometeorite pierced a hole in the spacecraft’s radiator, causing all of its coolant to leak into space. A major concern is that with an improperly functioning cooling system, temperatures and humidity levels within the crew capsule would reach unsafe levels upon re-entry into the atmosphere. Both NASA and Roscosmos have downplayed the seriousness of the situation, with Joel Montalbano, NASA’s International Space Station program manager, telling reporters in January he is Refusal to call it a rescue mission.

In the latest twist of this story, a second Russian spacecraft, the Progress MS-21, also leaked, indicating a systemic problem with the vehicle. Hopefully this development doesn’t affect Sunday’s start, but it’s certainly something we’ll be watching. Meanwhile, Progress MS-21, or Progress 82 as it is called in Russian, is scheduled to undock and leave the station on Friday, February 17.

Japan is aiming to launch the much-anticipated H3 rocket

The first flight test of the Japanese medium-lift H3 rocket is currently scheduled for February 14 at 20:37 ET. The rocket that carries them Advanced Land Observation Satellite-3 (ALOS-3), will take off from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima Space Center. In development since 2013, the rocket should take off in 2020.

The H3 rocket during a wet dress rehearsal in March 2021.

The H3 rocket during a wet dress rehearsal in March 2021.
photo: JAXA

The liquid hydrogen-powered two-stage rocket, a collaboration between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is set to replace Japan’s H-IIA and H-IIB rockets and serve as the country’s workhorse launch vehicle for the next two decades . I’m preparing a more detailed article on the H3 rocket right now, so keep an eye out for it.

SpaceX plans two Falcon 9 launches

SpaceX will attempt at least two launches this week, both with Falcon 9s. The first, a Deployment mission for Starlink satelliteswill attempt to depart from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, at 12:44 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 15 at 12:44 p.m. ET in geostationary transfer orbit.

More: Everything we noticed during SpaceX’s first major test of Starship Megarocket

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *