Russia might ship an empty Soyuz to carry the Worldwide House Station crew residence after a capsule leak

Russia’s area company mentioned it’s contemplating a “rescue” plan to ship an empty spacecraft to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) to carry residence three crew members forward of schedule, after their Soyuz capsule developed a coolant leak whereas docked on the orbital outpost.

They proceed to analyze how the coolant line within the capsule’s exterior radiator sustained a small gap final week, simply as two astronauts have been making ready for a routine spacewalk, Roscosmos and NASA officers mentioned at a information convention Thursday.

No remaining choice has been made on the precise technique of returning the capsule’s three crew members to Earth—whether or not by one other Soyuz launch to retrieve them or by the much less possible possibility of sending them residence within the leaking capsule with out a lot of the coolant.

Final week, Sergey Krikalev, Russia’s head of manned area packages, mentioned the leak might have been attributable to a micrometeor strike, however he and his counterparts at NASA left open the potential of different culprits, akin to a {hardware} malfunction or an impression by a small rocket. A bit of area particles.

Calling spacewalks, NASA’s stay on-line broadcast confirmed what seemed to be a flurry of snow-like particles spewing from the again of the Soyuz spacecraft.

The leak lasted for hours and emptied the coolant from the cooler used to control temperatures contained in the spacecraft’s crew cabin.

NASA mentioned that not one of the Worldwide House Station crew have been in any hazard of a leak.

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin, who have been match for spacewalks on the time, flew to the Worldwide House Station aboard the crippled Soyuz MS-22 capsule with USAF Frank Rubio in September.

They have been initially scheduled to return residence on the identical spacecraft in March, however Krikalev and NASA’s Worldwide House Station program supervisor Joel Montalbano mentioned the Russian area company would return them to Earth two or three weeks early if Russian area officers determined to launch an empty capsule for the crew. with a purpose to retrieve it.

4 different ISS crew members—two extra NASA, a 3rd Russian astronaut, and a Japanese astronaut—flew to the ISS in October through the NASA-contracted SpaceX Crew Dragon, additionally nonetheless aboard, with their capsule parked in station.

The leak upended Worldwide House Station proceedings in Russia for the approaching weeks, forcing the suspension of all future Roscosmos spacewalks as officers in Moscow shifted their focus to the MS-22, a lifeboat supposed for its three crew members if one thing goes incorrect on the planet. board. area station.

NASA mentioned two American astronauts, Rubio and Josh Casada, performed a seven-hour spacewalk with out incident Thursday to put in a brand new photo voltaic array outdoors the station.

If MS-22 is deemed unsafe to move crew members to Earth, one other Soyuz capsule will as a substitute be despatched in line to move the subsequent Russian crew to the station in March as a substitute “and not using a pilot to have (a) a well being automobile on board the station to have the ability to Rescue the crew Krikalev, government director of human spaceflight at Roscosmos, instructed reporters.

The potential of SpaceX sending Dragon to retrieve the crew was not talked about.

Figuring out the reason for the leak can result in choices on one of the best ways to carry the crew again.

The latest Geminid meteor bathe initially raises the chances of a micrometeor strike because the origin, Montalbano mentioned, however the spill was dealing with the incorrect means for that to be the case, regardless that an area rock might have come from one other course.

Sending the stricken MS-22 again to Earth uninstalled with people on board appeared an unlikely possibility given the important position the cooling system performs in stopping overheating of the capsule’s crew compartment, which Montalbano and Krikalev mentioned is at present vented whereas permitting airflow by way of an open hatch. hatch to the Worldwide House Station.

NASA mentioned earlier that the capsule’s temperatures stay “inside acceptable limits” and {that a} latest take a look at of the capsule’s thrusters went off and not using a hitch. However Krikalev added that the temperature would rise quickly if the station’s hatch was closed.

Orbiting 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth, the ISS, a science laboratory that stretches the size of a soccer area, has been constantly busy for 20 years, and is operated by a US-Russian-led partnership that features Canada, Japan and different nations. 11 European international locations.


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