Russia could ship a brand new spacecraft to switch the Soyuz capsule that leaked on the area station

Russia could ship a brand new spacecraft to switch the Soyuz capsule that leaked on the area station


The Russian area company is deciding whether or not it must ship a rescue spacecraft to the Worldwide Area Station to convey dwelling two NASA astronauts and an astronaut after the Soyuz capsule carrying them suffered an enormous coolant leak.

Working with their NASA counterparts, officers at Roscosmos, Russia’s area company, are attempting to find out whether or not the craft is dependable sufficient to get the crew dwelling, Sergei Krikalev, govt director of Roscosmos’ human spaceflight packages, mentioned throughout a briefing Thursday. In any other case, the Russian company will ship one other Soyuz spacecraft that was supposed for use for an additional crewed mission to return the crew.

That spacecraft may very well be able to raise off with out people aboard someday in February, just a few weeks earlier than the crew returns in March, officers mentioned.

The crew that flew dwelling on the rescue craft would have included NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and a pair of astronauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Pyatelinwhich arrived on the station in September.

On December 14, because the pair of astronauts ready to go away the station for a spacewalk, Roscosmos and NASA floor controllers found a coolant leak that was being managed to movement out of the Soyuz capsule.

Raskosmos rapidly canceled the spacewalk. And after inspecting the car with the station’s robotic arm, they decided the leak got here from an exterior cooling line used to maintain the capsule at a snug temperature because it transports the crew by way of the ambiance and into the vacuum of area.

In an announcement final week, NASA mentioned that “no crew members aboard the station had been in peril and all had been conducting regular operations all through the day.” He added that “pictures and knowledge are analyzed by Raskosmos. The company additionally carefully screens the temperature of the Soyuz spacecraft, which stays inside acceptable limits. NASA and Roscosmos proceed to work collectively on a plan of action following the continuing evaluation.”

Joel Montalbano, NASA’s area station supervisor, mentioned the coolant didn’t contaminate the area station, and astronauts on the station proceed to conduct science experiments, together with rising tomatoes.

It’s unclear what precipitated the leak. Montalbano mentioned the potential causes being investigated are a malfunction of the ship’s {hardware} or potential harm from particles or a micrometeorite.

On Wednesday, NASA canceled a spacewalk to put in an upgraded photo voltaic array as a result of particles was anticipated to return inside 1 / 4 mile of the station. Crews maneuvered the station to keep away from particles, and the spacewalk was postponed till Thursday.

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