A Russian Soyuz rescue vessel arrived at the International Space Station
Sylvie Claire / February 27, 2023
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked on Saturday night to the International Space Station in order to serve, next September, as a vehicle for the return to Earth of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut, whose initial spacecraft was damaged.
The MS-23 rescue spacecraft had lifted off Friday morning from Kazakhstan, with no one on board, and reached the space station after a journey of about two days, according to a live video feed from Nasa.
The American Frank Rubio as well as the Russians Sergueï Prokopiev and Dmitri Peteline, had taken off at the end of September 2022 with the Soyuz MS-22.
But in December, this spacecraft suffered a spectacular leak while docked to the ISS, due according to Moscow to the impact of a micrometeorite.
The Russian space agency thus decided that it could not be used any more but in case of emergency, and chose to send in replacement the MS-23 vessel.
The mission of the three crew members has been extended until September, so they will leave on this replacement spacecraft after spending about a year in space.
The damaged MS-22 spacecraft must be undocked from the ISS and return to Earth empty, a priori at the end of next month.
In addition to the three crew members who came aboard the Soyuz, the ISS currently has four other passengers who arrived with a SpaceX spacecraft and are members of the mission called Crew-5.
They are to be joined next week by Crew-6, which includes two Americans, an Emirati and a Russian, and whose takeoff is scheduled for Sunday night from Florida, USA.
After a handover of a few days, Crew-5 will return to Earth.