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Soyuz MS-23 on the International Space Station. The “trapped” crew has a way to return home

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Soyuz MS-23 successfully docked with the International Space Station on Sunday night. The capsule will become a means of transport for astronauts who have been “trapped” in space since December after their ship suffered a malfunction. The mission of two Russians and an American was extended to September – there were supplies on board Soyuz MS-23 that would make this possible.

The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft has docked at the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency Roscosmos reported on Sunday morning. The capsule took off on Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with no crew on board, but with enough supplies to continue the mission for three astronauts: Russians Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Petlin, and American Frank Rubio.

>>>Check also: They were stuck in space for almost a year because of the Soyuz failure

A year in space

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Staying on the ISS since September 2022, the crew was prevented from returning to Earth in December, when the cooling system of their Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft leaked and coolant began to leak. The defect turned out to be so serious that the ship became unusable. From that moment, the astronauts waited for the arrival of a functioning ship, which they could return to Earth.

Originally, Prokofiev, Petlin and Rubio’s stay on the ISS was supposed to end in March, but it was eventually extended to September. If all goes according to plan, the astronauts will return to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-23 after spending nearly a year in near-Earth space. The head of Roskosmos, Yuri Borisov, additionally announced on Telegram that in April or May Prokofiev and Petlin will go on a space walk outside the ISS.

The Soyuz MS-23 capsule just before docking with the ISSReuters/NASA

Main photo source: Reuters/NASA

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