Russia to send Rocket to rescue Crew from ISS

MOSCOW: Russia said on Wednesday that it would send a rescue capsule next month for three crew members of the International Space Station, after a meteorite damaged the spacecraft that was due to return them to Earth.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, made the announcement after examining the flight worthiness of the Soyuz MS-22 crew capsule docked with the ISS that sprang a leak in December.
On Wednesday, Roscosmos said the spacecraft that was originally set to bring Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio back to Earth was damaged by a small meteorite strike.
Roscosmos said it had ruled out a technical problem as being the cause of the leak.
Their space capsule will now need to return crewless and a new spaceship, the Soyuz MS-23, will be sent to the ISS on February 20 to retrieve the trio.
“Soyuz MS-22’ must descend to Earth without a crew,” Roscosmos said, announcing the conclusion of a state commis-sion that weighed how to handle the problem.
There are currently seven people aboard the ISS. With the MS-22 rocket now deemed unfit, it means that the ISS has just one “lifeboat” capable of carrying four people, in case it needs to be evacuated. –Agencies