Russia says its astronauts are stranded on the International Space Station to return to Earth in September

Russian Cosmonauts Dmitry Petlin and Sergey Prokopyev NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio flew to iss In September 2022 aboard the Soyuz MS-22 capsule.

They were scheduled to return home aboard the same spacecraft, but it began leaking coolant in mid-December after it crashed into what American and Russian space officials believed was a small space rock.

Russia plans to send a rescue ship, the Soyuz MS-23, on February 24.

Prior to the leak, the trio was scheduled to return to Earth on March 28, 2023.

But Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday in a statement that their return “is currently scheduled to take place aboard the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft in September 2023.”

Roskosmos said that the extension of the period of stay in space – usually the missions of the International Space Station last six months – does not pose any health risks to the crew, adding that they took the news of extending their mission “positively”.

She added that in 2021, Russian Pyotr Dubrov and American Mark Vandi spent a year on the International Space Station after extending their mission.

The launch of the Soyuz rescue capsule itself was delayed earlier this month after another vessel — a Russian supply ship docked on the International Space Station, Progress MS-21 — leaked, sparking concern.

Roscosmos said on Tuesday that one particular leak was caused by an “external impact,” based on photos and videos that showed holes on the capsule’s exterior, including the radiator and solar panels.

Space has been a rare place for cooperation between Moscow and Washington since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions against Russia.

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The International Space Station was launched in 1998 at a time of increasing cooperation between the United States and Russia in the aftermath of the Cold War “space race”.

Russia has been using old but reliable Soyuz capsules to carry astronauts into space since the 1960s.

But in recent years, the Russian space program has been plagued by a series of problems that have led to the loss of satellites and vehicles.

(AFP)

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