Soyuz MS-20
Docking of Soyuz MS-20
NamesISS 66S
Mission typeCrewed mission to ISS, Space tourism
OperatorRoscosmos
COSPAR ID2021-119A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.49922
Mission duration11 days, 19 hours and 34 minutes (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz MS No.752 Altair
Spacecraft typeSoyuz MS
ManufacturerRSC Energia
Crew
Crew size3
Members
Start of mission
Launch date8 December 2021, 07:38:15 UTC[1][2]
RocketSoyuz-2.1a
Launch siteBaikonur Cosmodrome, Site 31
ContractorProgress Rocket Space Centre
End of mission
Landing date20 December 2021, 03:13 UTC
Landing siteKazakh Steppe,[a] Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination51.66°
Docking with ISS
Docking portPoisk zenith
Docking date8 December 2021, 13:40:44 UTC
Undocking date19 December 2021, 23:50:30 UTC
Time docked11 days, 10 hours and 9 minutes

Maezawa, Misurkin and Hirano 

Soyuz MS-20 was a Russian Soyuz spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) on 8–20 December 2021.[1] Unlike previous Soyuz flights to the ISS, Soyuz MS-20 did not deliver any crew members for an ISS Expedition or serve as a lifeboat for any crew members on board the station. Instead, it was commanded by a single professional cosmonaut and carried two space tourists represented by company Space Adventures, which had executed eight space tourism missions to the ISS in 2001–9.[4][5] The flight to reach the ISS took six hours.[6]

Crew

Alexander Misurkin, a veteran of two long duration missions to the ISS, commanded the Soyuz, modified to allow it to be flown by a sole cosmonaut.

Position Crew member
Commander Russia Alexander Misurkin, Roscosmos
Visiting
Third and last spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 1 Japan Yusaku Maezawa, Space Adventures
Visiting
First spaceflight
Spaceflight participant 2 Japan Yozo Hirano, Space Adventures
Visiting
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Crew member
Commander Russia Alexander Skvortsov, Roscosmos
Spaceflight participant 1 No back-up
Spaceflight participant 2 Japan Shun Ogiso, Space Adventures

Space tourists

For some time, it was speculated that Austrian airline pilot Johanna Maislinger would be one of the tourists, but on 13 May 2021, Space Adventures confirmed that Japanese billionaire, art collector and space enthusiast Yusaku Maezawa had acquired both seats, the other for his production assistant Yozo Hirano. This was the first time two Japanese launched to space together.[7]

In July 2021, Space Adventures Moscow Office changed their previous story and said that Maislinger had never had access to the funds she had claimed, and they had never treated her as a serious candidate.[8]

It was also reported in April 2021 that Japanese entertainer Yumi Matsutoya was to fly on Soyuz MS-20 with Maislinger.[9]

Notes

Soyuz MS-20 marks the first tourist flight to the ISS after more than 12 years since Canadian Guy Laliberté onboard Soyuz TMA-16 in September 2009.[10] British singer Sarah Brightman was to fly Soyuz TMA-18M in September 2015, but she cancelled in May 2015.[11]

Soyuz MS-20 was also reported in April 2020 as the first of at least two completely commercial Soyuz flights by Roscosmos, to be followed by Soyuz MS-23 in October 2022 carrying one cosmonaut and two passengers, possibly from United Arab Emirates, to the ISS for six months.[12] However, this was changed to a standard Russian-American Expedition 68 launch even during 2021; and after the events of 2022 culminated in December with a micrometeorite puncturing the Soyuz MS-22 cooling system, Soyuz MS-23 was launched on 24 February 2023 empty to replace it.

Soyuz MS-20 also marks a departure from the way space tourism was done in the 2000s. Previous missions took one tourist during either a taxi flight, where Soyuz lifeboats on the ISS were swapped, allowing for about a week-long stay or handover periods between crews, where the tourist would launch with an incoming long-duration crew and land with the outgoing one. Soyuz MS-20 switched to a flight entirely dedicated to two space tourists. Soon afterward, American company Axiom Space carried out a similar flight with SpaceX, where an Axiom-hired professional astronaut flew with three paying tourists to the ISS on board Crew Dragon Endeavour, on 8–25 April 2022.[13][14]

  1. ^ The target location is 148 km southeast of Zhezqazghan City[3]

References

  1. ^ a b Zak, Anatoly (3 September 2020). "Planned Russian space missions in 2021: Soyuz MS-20". RussianSpaceWeb.com. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  2. ^ Baylor, Michael (1 July 2020). "Status - Soyuz MS-20". NextSpaceflight. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Soyuz MS-20 lands following 12-day ISS mission". NASASpaceFlight.com. 19 December 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  4. ^ Jefferson, Mark (9 January 2018). "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. ^ "Mystery of Missing "Space Tourists" explained". 22 August 2021. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Russia to select actress for Soyuz mission in May". SpaceNews. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  10. ^ "NASA - Expedition 21 Crew Launches From Kazakhstan". NASA. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  11. ^ "Singer Sarah Brightman calls off tourist flight to International Space Station". The Guardian. 14 May 2015 – via theguardian.com.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ Foust, Jeff (5 March 2020). "Axiom to fly Crew Dragon mission to the space station". SpaceNews.
  14. ^ "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.