Soyuz MS-20
Mission typeISS crew transport
OperatorRoscosmos
Websitehttp://en.roscosmos.ru/
Mission duration12 days (planned) [1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz MS
ManufacturerEnergia
Crew
Crew size3
MembersAlexander Misurkin
Yusaku Maezawa
Yozo Hirano
Start of mission
Launch date8 December 2021 (planned) [2][3]
RocketSoyuz-2.1a
Launch siteBaikonur Cosmodrome, Site 31
ContractorProgress Rocket Space Centre
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.[2] 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.[4][5] The flight will take 6 hours to reach the ISS.[6]

Crew

Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, a veteran of two long duration missions to the ISS, will Command the Soyuz, which has been modified to allow it to be flown by a sole Cosmonaut.

Position Crew member
Commander Russia Alexander Misurkin, RSA
Visiting
Third spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 1 Japan Yusaku Maezawa, SA
Visiting
First spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 2 Japan Yozo Hirano, SA
Visiting
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Crew member
Commander Russia Alexander Skvortsov, RSA
Spaceflight participant TBA
Spaceflight participant TBA

Space tourists

For some time, it was speculated that Austrian airline pilot Johanna Maislinger would have taken one of the two spaceflight participant seats, although on 13 May 2021 Space Adventures confirmed that Japanese art collector Yusaku Maezawa had acquired both seats, one for himself, with the other being taken by his production assistant, Yozo Hirano. This will be the first time that two Japanese space fliers are launched together.[7]

It was also reported[8] that Japanese entertainer Yumi Matsutoya is to fly on this space flight.

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.[9] British singer Sarah Brightman was originally scheduled to fly onboard Soyuz TMA-18M in 2015, although she cancelled her flight before launch.[10]

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.[11]

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, scheduled for January 2022.[12][13] 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.[14]

References

  1. ^ "Japanese billionaire, Russian actress to fly to ISS". SpaceNews. 13 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b Zak, Anatoly (3 September 2020). "Planned Russian space missions in 2021: Soyuz MS-20". RussianSpaceWeb.com. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  3. ^ Baylor, Michael (1 July 2020). "Status - Soyuz MS-20". NextSpaceflight. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  4. ^ Jefferson, Mark. "Space Station Experience". Space Adventures.
  5. ^ "Roscosmos signs new contract on flight of two space tourists to ISS". TASS. 19 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Туристы из Японии в декабре полетят к МКС по шестичасовой схеме" (in Russian). 15 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Space Adventures' Client, Yusaku Maezawa, Plans for Mission to the International Space Station". 13 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Russia to select actress for Soyuz mission in May". SpaceNews. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  9. ^ "NASA - Expedition 21 Crew Launches From Kazakhstan". NASA. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ "Singer Sarah Brightman calls off tourist flight to International Space Station". The Guardian. 14 May 2015 – via theguardian.com.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ Foust, Jeff (5 March 2020). "Axiom to fly Crew Dragon mission to the space station". SpaceNews.
  13. ^ "NASA, Axiom Agree to First Private Astronaut Mission on Space Station". NASA. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ Foust, Jeff (18 February 2020). "Space Adventures to fly tourists on Crew Dragon mission". SpaceNews.