Soyuz MS-20

Summary

Soyuz MS-20
Mission typeISS crew transport
OperatorRoscosmos
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz MS
ManufacturerEnergia
Start of mission
Launch date8 December 2021 [1][2]
RocketSoyuz-2.1a
Launch siteBaikonur Site 31
End of mission
Landing date20 December 2021
Landing siteKazakh Steppe
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination51.66°
Docking with ISS
Docking portPoisk zenith
 

Soyuz MS-20 is a Russian Soyuz spaceflight to the International Space Station planned for launch on 8 December 2021.[1] Unlike previous Soyuz flights to the ISS, Soyuz MS-20 will not deliver any crew members for an ISS Expedition or serve as a lifeboat for any crew members on board the station, but will instead fly a short-duration mission, ferrying two paying space tourists to the ISS for a set number of days. The Soyuz will be commanded by a single professional cosmonaut on board, and the two space tourists will be provided by space tourism company Space Adventures, which has already successfully planned and executed seven space tourism missions to the ISS.[3][4]

Crew

According to both Roscosmos and Space Adventures, the names of the crew, including the two Space Tourists, will be officially announced, in early 2021.[5] However, unofficial sources have confirmed[6] that one of the space tourist seats will be occupied by Austrian airline pilot and extreme sportswoman Johanna Maislinger.[7] For some time, it was speculated that the second seat might go to Japanese entrepreneur Satoshi Takamatsu, who was offered a seat on Soyuz TMA-18M after British singer Sarah Brightman pulled out from the mission for personal reasons, but declined due to not having enough time to fully train for Soyuz TMA-18M.[8][9] However, in November the respected online publication The Space Review revealed that a Japanese female celebrity was in line to be launched with, Aleksandr Misurkin and Johanna Maislinger [10] If this happens, it will be the first time that two women have launched together on a Soyuz.[6]

Position Crew member
Commander Russia Aleksandr Misurkin, RSA
Third spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 1 Austria Johanna Maislinger, SA
First spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 2 TBA, SA
First spaceflight


Notes

Soyuz MS-20 will mark the first flight of a space tourist since Canadian space tourist Guy Laliberté launched onboard Soyuz TMA-16 in September 2009.[11] British singer Sarah Brightman was originally scheduled to fly onboard Soyuz TMA-18M in 2015, although she cancelled her trip before launch.[12]

Soyuz MS-20 will mark the first of at least two completely commercially dedicated Soyuz flights flown by Roscosmos, the second being Soyuz MS-23, which is scheduled for launch in October 2022 and will also ferry one Russian cosmonaut and two commercial astronauts to the ISS for six months.[13]

This flight will also mark a departure from the traditional way space tourism has been done. On previous flights, the space tourist's mission would take place during either a "taxi" flight, where Soyuz lifeboats on the ISS were being swapped, allowing for a week or so-long mission, or during handover periods between crews, where the space tourist would launch with an incoming long-duration crew and land with the outgoing long-duration crew. Soyuz MS-20 is a departure from this model as it involves a flight entirely dedicated to space tourism. American company Axiom Space also has a deal for a similar flight with SpaceX, where an Axiom-hired professional astronaut will fly with three paying space tourists to the ISS on board a SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is also scheduled for late 2021.[14] Space Adventures themselves also have a similar deal with SpaceX, although instead of going to the ISS the flight will be a free flight tourism mission orbiting at roughly twice the altitude as the ISS.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b Zak, Anatoly (3 September 2020). "Planned Russian space missions in 2021: Soyuz MS-20". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  2. ^ Baylor, Michael (1 July 2020). "Status - Soyuz MS-20". NextSpaceflight. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  3. ^ Jefferson, Mark. "Space Station Experience". Space Adventures.
  4. ^ "Roscosmos signs new contract on flight of two space tourists to ISS". TASS. 19 February 2020.
  5. ^ Roscosmos (1 August 2020). "Two space tourists to blast off to ISS in late 2021 - Roscosmos". TASS.
  6. ^ a b "Johanna Maislinger". www.astronaut.ru. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Soyuz MS-20 - Baikonur 31/6 - December 2021". 2 February 2020 – via https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com.
  8. ^ Klotz, Irene (13 May 2015). "Singer Sarah Brightman calls off flight to space station". www.reuters.com.
  9. ^ Foust, Jeff (22 June 2015). "Kazakh Cosmonaut To Take Brightman's Place On Soyuz Flight". spaceNews.com. Space News.
  10. ^ Quine, Tony (9 November 2020). "Russia looks for actress to steal Tom Cruise space movie thunder". The Space Review.
  11. ^ "NASA - Expedition 21 Crew Launches From Kazakhstan". nasa.gov. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ Reuter's staff (14 May 2015). "Singer Sarah Brightman calls off tourist flight to International Space Station" – via www.theguardian.com.
  13. ^ "Коммерческий полет "Союза" на МКС планируется в 2022-2023 годах" [Soyuz commercial flight to the ISS is planned in 2022-2023] (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 27 April 2020.
  14. ^ Foust, Jeff (5 March 2020). "Axiom to fly Crew Dragon mission to the space station". spacenews.com.
  15. ^ Foust, Jeff (18 February 2020). "Space Adventures to fly tourists on Crew Dragon mission". spacenews.com.