Russia to evacuate astronauts from ISS amid emergency

Russia will launch the unmanned Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft to bring home three astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) as their Soyuz MS-22 spaceship has an emergency situation, Russian space authorities have said.

Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin together with NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-23 in the next weeks, which is supposed to dock to the ISS on February 22, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

Last month, astronauts found damage to the outer skin of the instrument-assembly compartment of the Soyuz MS-22 docked to the ISS, which caused a pressure drop in the cooling system.

The systems of the ISS and the Soyuz MS-22 are operating normally, but Roscosmos and its partner space agencies have taken measures to ensure the safe return of the crew to Earth in the event of an accident before the arrival of Soyuz MS-23, the statement said.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 21, 2022, taking Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio to the ISS for a six-month stay in orbit.

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