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The Russian spacecraft docked with the International Space Station to bring back the three stranded astronauts

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The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) said on Sunday, February 26, 2023, that the spacecraft that launched a mission to return the three astronauts stranded on the International Space Station has docked with the station.

The Soyuz MS-23 capsule lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday with a mission to bring back Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin and American Francisco Rubio. All three are scheduled to be brought back in September.

The three were due to end their mission in March but were stranded in space after a leak began in the cooling system of their MS-22 spacecraft. And that damaged capsule will be returned unmanned next month.

“Today, at 3:58 Moscow time (00:58 GMT), the uninhabited capsule Soyuz MS-23 automatically docked with the BUISK module (designated for landing vehicles) of the International Space Station,” Roscosmos said on the Telegram application.

Roscosmos and the US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believe that the leak occurred because a small cosmic rock hit the capsule very quickly.