Russia launched an unmanned spacecraft Friday in an effort to rescue a “stranded” NASA astronaut and two Russian Cosmonauts whose craft had been damaged by a micrometeroid while at the International Space Station in December.
The crew found themselves stranded after the micrometeoroid punctured a hole in the craft, causing a coolant leak that rendered the temperature of the cabin of the Soyuz MS-22 unsafe for travel. Now, the rescue mission will retrieve them on this weekend, when the replacement craft is set to dock at the orbiting lab.
“After a two-day journey, the unpiloted spacecraft will dock automatically to the Poisk module’s space-facing port at 8:01 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. NASA coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 7:15 p.m,” according to NASA.
Russian Space agency Roscosmos said that the Russian Soyuz MS-23 would complete the rescue mission and return the crew to earth in September, while the damaged craft will return unmanned in march, according to Reuters.
Cargo ship Progress MS-21 suffered a similar impact this month, causing its own cooling system leak. It was reportedly taken out of orbit last week.
These incidents have reportedly caused both NASA and Roscosmos to make schedule changes, including of planned spacewalks.