KOROLEV /Moscow Region/, March 29. /TASS/. Russian specialists expect cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, to return to the Earth safely after their mission in space was extended for technical reasons, a high-ranking Roscosmos official said on Tuesday.
"Our specialists, including doctors, had conversations with the crew and concluded that all of them are projected to safely complete their extended space mission," Roscosmos executive director for manned space programs Sergey Krikalev said.
He said the crew members would have to carry out certain readjustments to their routine, and compared them to athletes, who were trained to run a five-kilometer race but eventually had to compete in a ten-kilometer event.
"Just like in sports, they will have to make certain changes to their pace and rhythm, to pay more attention to their health and physical training," he added.
The Soyuz MS-22, named after Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, blasted off on September 21, 2022 to deliver to the ISS Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio. The launch was the first under an agreement between Roscosmos and NASA to conduct cross-flights.
On December 15, 2022, the external loop of the Soyuz MS-22’s thermal control system developed a leak. The state commission decided to return the damaged ship in a crewless mode. Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, whose mission has been extended, will fly back in the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft. Experts in the rocket and space industry found out that the Soyuz MS-22 had been damaged as a result of a sporadic meteoroid impact.