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Soyuz spacecraft that will bring ISS crew back to Earth moved to new port
Soyuz spacecraft that will bring ISS crew back to Earth moved to new port
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Apr 6, 2021

The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft that will return three International Space Station crew members to Earth moved to a new docking port on the space station Thursday.

The three Expedition 69 crew members -- NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin -- successfully moved the spacecraft to the Prichal module on the Earth-facing side of the ISS at 5:22 a.m.

Prokopyev manually flew the spacecraft away from the Poisk dock to its new location.

Thursday's move was the 26th spacecraft relocation in the space station's history and will set up the crew's return to earth on Sept. 27.

NASA said it will also make room for the arrival of the Roscosmos Progress 84 cargo spacecraft later this year and free up the Poisk airlock for Roscosmos spacewalks in April and May.

The Expedition 69 crew had their stay on the space station extended after the MS-22 spacecraft which brought them there developed a coolant leak.

The MS-23 spacecraft docked to replace the damaged spacecraft in February in addition to bringing 948 pounds of supplies for the astronauts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Last month, the MS-22 landed in Kazakhstan, where crews will recover the spacecraft to determine the cause of the leak.

Sophie Goguichvili, the program associate for the science and technology innovation program with the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, D.C., told UPI earlier this year that a meteoroid likely struck the MS-22 and it was not the first time one of its space crafts suffered a leak.

In 2018, a "slight drop" in cabin pressure at the ISS was traced back to a small hole in the habitation compartment of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.

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