Soyuz MS-16


Soyuz MS-16
Expedition 63 docks.jpg
Irkut approaches the ISS
Mission typeCrewed mission to ISS
COSPAR ID2020-023A
SATCAT no.45465
Mission duration195 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz MS No.745 Irkut [1][2]
ManufacturerRSC Energia
Launch mass7,280 kg (16,050 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date9 April 2020, 08:05:06 UTC[3]
RocketSoyuz-2.1a (B15000-042) [1]
Launch siteBaikonur Site 31
ContractorRSC Progress
End of mission
Landing date22 October 2020, 02:54:12 UTC [4]
Landing siteKazakh Steppe, 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Zhezkazgan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[5]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Docking with ISS
Docking portPoisk zenith
Docking date9 April 2020, 14:13:18 UTC [5]
Undocking date21 October 2020, 23:31:41 UTC[5]
Time docked195 days, 9 hours and 18 minutes
Soyuz MS-16 mission patch
Expedition 63 Preflight (JSC2020-E-017082).jpg
Cassidy, Ivanishin, Vagner 

Soyuz MS-16 was a Soyuz spaceflight launched on 9 April 2020,[3] which transported three members of the Expedition 62/63 crew to the International Space Station.[6]

This flight was the first crewed launch using the Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle, and the first crewed Russian mission not to launch from Gagarin's Start (which began modernization renovations after Soyuz MS-15) since Soyuz MS-02 in 2016.[7]


Position Crew member
Commander Russia Anatoli Ivanishin, Roscosmos
Expedition 62/63
Third spaceflight
Flight Engineer 1 Russia Ivan Vagner, Roscosmos
Expedition 62/63
First spaceflight
Flight Engineer 2 United States Christopher Cassidy, NASA
Expedition 62/63
Third and last spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Crew member [5]
Commander Russia Sergey Ryzhikov, Roscosmos
Flight Engineer 1 Russia Andrei Babkin, Roscosmos
Flight Engineer 2 United States Stephen Bowen, NASA

Crew notes

This flight would have marked the first spaceflight for rookie cosmonaut Nikolai Tikhonov, who has been removed from several ISS flights due to delays to the Russian Nauka laboratory module starting with Soyuz MS-04. Tikhonov and Babkin were replaced by their backups, Ivanishin and Vagner, for medical reasons.[8] Tikhonov, the original Soyuz commander, suffered an eye injury, and Russian officials opted to swap both Russian crew members with the back-up crew.[9]

Tikhonov and Babkin were expected to fly on Soyuz MS-17, scheduled for October 2020 when Tikhonov's eye injury was set to have had healed, although the two have been kept back until at least Soyuz MS-18, currently targeting launch for April 2021, in order for them to be aboard the station for the arrival of the aforementioned Nauka laboratory module, currently set for launch around May 2021.[10]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew's families and media representatives could not watch the launch in Baikonur, and the usual pre-launch traditions dating back to Yuri Gagarin's flight on Vostok 1 were canceled.[9]


Soyuz MS-16 was launched on 9 April 2020 at 08:05:06 UTC. The Soyuz 2.1a booster's first and core stage engines ignited on time and lifted the rocket away from its firing stand at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, with cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, joined by the rookie Ivan Vagner on the left and astronaut Chris Cassidy on the right. Like Ivanishin, Cassidy is making his third space flight. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted congratulations: "Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are safely in orbit, no virus is stronger than the human desire to explore. I'm grateful to the entire @NASA and @roscosmos teams for their dedication to making this launch a success".

The International Space Station passed directly over the launch site about three minutes before the launch and the booster climbed directly into the plane of its orbit. Six orbits after that, at 14:13:18 UTC, the Soyuz docked at the Poisk docking compartment.[11]


The Soyuz capsule undocked from the International Space Station at approximately 23:32:00 UTC and landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 02:54:12 UTC.[4][12][13]


  1. ^ a b Navin, Joseph (4 March 2020). "Preparations continue amid crew shuffle for Soyuz MS-16". NASASpaceFlight. Archived from the original on 20 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020. The Soyuz 2.1a built specifically for the Soyuz MS-16 mission is B15000-042 (V15000-042) [...] The serial number for the specific Soyuz spacecraft that is going to be flown on MS-16 is No.745.
  2. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (8 April 2020). "Russia conducts first Soyuz 2.1a human launch; MS-16 crew arrives at Station". NASASpaceFlight. Archived from the original on 20 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020. Soyuz will use the call sign "Irkut" for this mission, after the river Commander Ivanishin's home city is named after
  3. ^ a b "Утвержден экипаж космического корабля "Союз МС-16"" [The crew of MS-16 Soyuz spacecraft has been approved] (in Russian). Interfax. 27 June 2019. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (21 October 2020). "Live coverage: Soyuz crew returns to Earth". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 26 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Becker, Joachim (20 February 2020). "Soyuz MS-16". Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  6. ^ Becker, Joachim (20 February 2020). "ISS: Expedition 62". Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  7. ^ Becker, Joachim (20 April 2018). "Soyuz MS-02". Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (19 February 2020). "Russian space agency replaces cosmonauts on next space station crew". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  9. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (20 March 2020). "Astronaut's family won't attend launch next month due to coronavirus threat". Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Clark, Stephen (10 April 2020). "Soyuz crew docks with International Space Station". SpaceflightNow. Archived from the original on 25 May 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  12. ^ Space com Staff 21 (22 October 2020). "Watch live tonight: Soyuz capsule to return ISS crew to Earth". Archived from the original on 22 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  13. ^ Neal, Mihir; Gebhardt, Chris (21 October 2020). "Soyuz MS-16 returns Space Station trio to Earth". Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.