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Soyuz MS-18



Soyuz-MS is to provide rescue of the main crew of the station in emergency and delivery of visiting crews.

Overall, Soyuz MS-18 was the 146th launch of a crewed Soyuz spacecraft, which began human flight operations on April 23, 1967 with the first generation of the craft. Soyuz (spacecraft) has since undergone numerous upgrades and improvements, with the MS-series of crew vehicles being the current variant.

The Soyuz MS-18 crew was originally supposed to be all-Russian, with Novitsky, Dubrov joined by Sergey Korsakov — with Anton Shkaplerov, Andrey Babkin (originally), and Dmitry Petelin as the backup crew. However, NASA sought to obtain a supplemental seat aboard a Soyuz to guarantee at least one US crew member aboard ISS in the event of any problems which would keep Crew Dragon or Starliner on the ground for a prolonged period. This led to a barter agreement between NASA and Roscosmos to fly an American astronaut on the Soyuz MS-18 mission in exchange for Russian cosmonauts flying aboard the US Commercial Crew vehicles to the ISS. Vande Hei thus replaced Korsakov as prime crew member for MS-18 and US Army Lt. Col Anne McClain became Vande Hei’s backup in place of Petelin. Even before the crew swap was agreed, the Soyuz MS-18 backup crew was changed due to medical issues with Babkin, who was replaced by Oleg Artemyev.

During Expedition 65, the Soyuz MS-18 crew will be joined in late-April by the crew of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission, consisting of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough (Commander) and Megan McArthur (Pilot) as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (Flight Engineer) and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet (Flight Engineer).

Crew-2 and Soyuz MS-18 will both deliver the full Expedition crew of seven to the Station, who will take over from the current seven occupants. During the following half year, the crew will be busy conducting numerous experiments in many scientific disciplines. Among these are cotton root system studies, a tech demonstration of a portable ultrasound device, and studies on amyloids that can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Alternate Names

  • SoyuzMS18
  • 48159

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2021-04-09
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2.1a
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), Kazakhstan

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Human Crew

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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