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CNN's Astronauts relocated a spacecraft outside the International Space Station (was it inside before?) says:

Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, along with NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, flew the Soyuz MS-17 capsule from its current port to another one on Friday.

The maneuver was streamed live on NASA's TV channel and website.

This answer to Why are three cosmonauts required to move a Soyuz? says:

There are usually 6 crew members, and 2 Soyuz spacecraft on station. Each Soyuz carries 3 astronauts.

If there is an issue redocking during the move procedure, the backup plan is to return to earth. If they cannot redock and someone is left on the station, they would be stranded and cause all sorts of downstream issues.

and @DohnJoe's comment backs this up.

Question: How often are fewer than three astronauts present when moving a Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another? This has been done about fifteen times!


From the very cool video Space Station Crew Relocate Soyuz Spacecraft. You can see the Kurs antennas and the green space periscope!

and for background:

Space Station Crew Relocate Soyuz SpacecraftSpace Station Crew Relocate Soyuz Spacecraft

click for larger

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    $\begingroup$ Since the Soyuz capsules are the ISS' life boats, maybe they wanted to avoid a hypothetical life boat shortage. Imagine only two or one astronaut move the Soyuz, and while it is away from the ISS something happens - now you have 4 or 5 astronauts and only one remaining 3-seat Soyuz. $\endgroup$
    – Dohn Joe
    Mar 20 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DohnJoe I see, it basic logistics; (at least) one of them is more or less cargo? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 20 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ I think Kurs is the accepted romanized/English name for the navigation system. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurs_(docking_navigation_system) $\endgroup$ Mar 20 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DohnJoe I've made an edit and "spiced up the question since the answer to the original question if it were posted would be trivial." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 20 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Yes, focusing on "has it ever been less than three?" seems an interesting and answerable question in its own right! $\endgroup$ Mar 20 at 12:32

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