From the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan at 4:54-21 September, Moscow time, the Soyuz IPU-22 took off, a very important launch, not only because it will take three astronauts to the International Space Station, but also because one of them
Soyuz is scheduled to dock about three and a half hours after departure, which is much shorter than the two U.S. capsules, thanks to the vast experience of the Russian Space Agency over many years and the knowledge of the characteristics of the Soyuz rocket and capsule, the docking will take place with the Sunrise module, which in turn connects with the ISS via the Zara module.
The crew, composed of the astronauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelein and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, will remain in orbit for about six months, replacing the crew of the Soyuz MS-21, which sailed on 18 March and will begin its return journey in about a week.
With the launch of Dragon by SpaceX and shortly after the Starliner by Boeing, the United States regained its independence in the field of manned space missions. Following the closure of Space Shuttle in 2011, NASA could rely only on Russia to deliver its astronauts to ISS.
In July of this year, NASA and Roscosmos formally issued an agreement for the exchange of astronauts to use their respective capsules.
According to official declarations, the purpose of the agreement is to keep the international crew on board ISS, and if the crew were to return to Earth due to an emergency, both United States and Russian astronauts would remain in orbit.
The flight of Anna Kikina is currently scheduled to take place on 3 October and will be part of the SpaceX Crew-5 crew, which began its quarantine period on Monday, 19 September, which was scheduled to take place a few days earlier, but was postponed for better traffic management to ISS.