Three astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) are about to take a very short ride aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
In a maneuver designed to make room for the arrival of the Roscosmos Progress 84 cargo spacecraft later this year, astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, will this week hop aboard the Soyuz MS-23 capsule and pilot it from the Poisk module on the space-facing side of the complex to the Prichal module on the Earth-facing side of the outpost.
The journey is expected to take about 38 minutes, NASA said in a message on its website.
The space agency will live stream the event on its website from 4:15 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 6, though the undocking process won’t begin until 4:45 a.m.
“Prokopyev, the Soyuz commander, will manually fly the spacecraft away from Poisk for its redocking to Prichal,” NASA explained. “He will be strapped into the descent module of the Soyuz with Petelin seated to his left and Rubio to his right.”
The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft arrived in February to replace MS-22 after it suffered a damaging coolant leak toward the end of last year. MS-22, which Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin traveled aboard to reach the ISS in September last year, has now returned to Earth for analysis to find out what caused the leak. The three crewmembers will return to Earth aboard the MS-23 capsule in September.
Thursday’s maneuver will mark the 26th spacecraft relocation since the ISS went into operation just over two decades ago.
In a similar procedure in 2021, four astronauts undocked SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience capsule from the Harmony module’s forward-facing port before linking up with Harmony’s space-facing port about 45 minutes later.
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