Russia’s Soyuz capsule carrying 3 astronauts spotted approaching space station; WATCH

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, along with cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, entered the International Space Station (ISS) after it was launched September 21 from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. The trio took off in Russia’s Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle and their Soyuz MS-22 capsule docked at the station at 10:36 p.m. IST. About two hours after docking, all three members joined seven others already aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 67 group.

Interestingly, the historic launch was captured with a camera showing the MS-22 capsule approaching the space station over South America. The video, shared on the space station’s Twitter handle, showed the spacecraft drifting over South America before docking with the space station’s Rassvet module.

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European astronaut Samantha Christoforetti also captured captivating images of the MS-22 launch from space as the spacecraft en route to the space station. According to NASA, this was the first space flight for Rubio and Petelin, while it was the second for Prokopyev and they will remain aboard the orbital outpost for the next six months.

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The launch was carried out by the Russian space agency Roskosmos as part of the cross-flight agreement with the US space agency NASA. Space, in particular, is currently the only area in which the two countries are cooperating. Relations between them have otherwise taken a serious blow as the US has imposed numerous sanctions on Russia for attacking Ukraine.

What’s next?

In a few days, current ISS Commander Oleg Artemyev will return along with Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov to make room for the Crew 5 astronauts. Crew-5 is the NASA mission that will be launched by SpaceX from Kennedy Space Center on October 3 at 10:15 p.m. IST. Specifically, Crew-5 is the mission that would also fall under the cross-flight agreement and would see Russia’s cosmonaut Anna Kikina board a US commercial spacecraft for the first time ever.

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The Crew-5 team includes Kikina, NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Koichi Wakata. Upon boarding the ISS, Crew 4 astronauts – Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins and Samantha Christoforetti – will return after their six-month stay.

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