Soyuz MS-23 Launch Delayed After Progress MS-21 Leak at ISS

On February 19, 2023, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on February 24 at 3:34 a.m. It is 7:34 p.m. in Moscow.[0] It is February 23[1] The launch of the spacecraft is intended to give the astronaut and two cosmonauts, who have been stranded on the International Space Station since September 2022, a functional vessel to fly home in.[2]

The launch was originally scheduled for February 20, 2023 but was delayed after the depressurization of the thermal control system of the Progress MS-21 spacecraft, which took place on February 11 at the ISS.[3] Roscosmos took time to analyze the telemetric information and images of the outer surface of the spacecraft, as well as inspecting the radiator on the Soyuz MS-23 and not finding any damage to it.[3]

The Progress MS-21 spacecraft had docked with the space station in October with more than 2.5 tons of cargo, fuel and water.[4] It seemed to be a mere coincidence that the leak occurred soon after another Progress supply ship had docked, yet it was the second time in a span of two months that a Russian spacecraft had lost its coolant fluid while connected to the international research complex.[5]

The source of both of the two recent coolant leaks is not entirely clear, with the most likely cause being an impact by a micrometeoroid.[0] Once Progress 82 had detached from the station, those on the station directed the vessel to rotate 180 degrees in order to take additional photographs of the malfunctioning ship.

The ISS is well stocked for events such as these and the extension of the mission was accepted.[6] The Soyuz MS-23 rocket will launch to the International Space Station with Expedition 68 astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos onboard.

After the Progress spacecraft departed from the space station, Russian cosmonauts gave orders to the supply ship to rotate its position by approximately 180 degrees so they could view the region where the coolant leak had happened in greater detail.

In case of an emergency, SpaceX has offered a ride for the Soyuz astronaut.[7]

0. “Russian replacement Soyuz scheduled for February 24 launch” Digital Trends, 19 Feb. 2023,

1. “Russia reschedules Soyuz launch after Progress undocks” SpaceNews, 18 Feb. 2023,

2. “Russia is launching a mission to give stranded space station crew members a ride home” Oregon Public Broadcasting, 21 Feb. 2023,

3. “Soyuz MS-23 | Soyuz 2.1a” Everyday Astronaut, 20 Feb. 2023,

4. “Russian cargo ship Progress MS-21 undocks from space station” La Prensa Latina, 18 Feb. 2023,

5. “Russian cargo ship departs space station after coolant leak – Spaceflight Now” Spaceflight Now, 18 Feb. 2023,

6. “Soyuz Meteorite Strike Extends “Stranded” ISS Astronauts' Mission Six More Months” IFLScience, 21 Feb. 2023,

7. “Crew stuck on ISS to return to Earth in September – Russia” News24, 21 Feb. 2023,