OREANDA-NEWS  The State Commission decided to launch the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft to the International Space Station on February 20 without a crew, said the head of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov.

"The State Commission has decided to launch the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on February 20, 2023 in unmanned mode with cargo delivery to the International Space Station," Borisov told reporters following a meeting of the state Commission on the situation with the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on the ISS.

According to him, the unmanned flight provides the necessary reliability, taking into account positive statistics, and the ship can be sent to the station at an earlier date.

"After the occurrence of an emergency situation with the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, two options for launching the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft were discussed at the station - in manned mode with one cosmonaut or unmanned mode," the head of the state corporation said.

Borisov said that a manned flight with one cosmonaut requires the completion of the spacecraft, the release of documentation, additional training of the cosmonaut and is possible no earlier than the beginning of March.

The State Commission decided to extend the expedition of the Russian-American Soyuz MS-22 crew, the cosmonauts and the astronaut will return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft.

"At the council of chief designers held yesterday at RSC Energia, NASA representatives agreed with the conclusions of the Council and confirmed their readiness to provide the necessary assistance," the head of the state corporation said.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft with a damaged radiator will be lowered to earth in unmanned mode. According to Borisov, tests of the motion control system, navigation of the ship and mathematical modeling of thermal processes during the descent from orbit were carried out.