Russia hoped to send rescue ship to ISS on February 24: official

A NASA video shows a liquid spray from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft in December

A NASA video shows a liquid spray from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft in December.

Russia’s space agency said Saturday it planned to launch a rescue ship on February 24 to bring home three astronauts whose return vehicle was damaged by a small meteorite.

“The launch is expected on February 24,” a spokesman for the space agency Roscosmos told AFP.

Last Monday, the space agency said it had delayed the launch of the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft, saying that a supply ship distributed by the International Space Station (ISS) had a leaking spring.

The Soyuz MS-22 flew Russian cosmonauts Dmitry Petelin and Sergei Prokopyev and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to the ISS in September.

They were scheduled to return home in the same spacecraft, but it began leaking coolant in mid-December after being hit by what US and Russian space officials believe was a small space rock.

In January, Russia said it would send an empty spacecraft to the ISS in February to bring home the three astronauts.

Last Monday, the launch was postponed after another craft — a Russian supply ship that had burned up at the ISS, the Progress MS-21 — leaked coolant, sparking concern.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian space agency said that chief designers had now recommended that the launch of the rescue ship be set for 03:34 am (00:34 GMT) on February 24.

The Soyuz MS-23 was carefully examined, and no damage was found, the space agency said.

Now the state commission has to sign off on the new date.

The Roscosmos official told AFP that it was widely expected that the state commission would approve the new launch date.

The Progress supply ship will be de-orbited on February 19, the space agency said in a separate statement.

© 2023 AFP

Quote: Russia hoped to send rescue ship to ISS on February 24: official retrieval (2023, 18 February) 18 February 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-02-russia-ship-iss-feb. html

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