Russia is contemplating a fast return of the area station crew after the Soyuz capsule leak

Russia is contemplating a fast return of the area station crew after the Soyuz capsule leak

Russia is contemplating a fast return of the area station crew after the Soyuz capsule leak

By Joey Roulette

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia’s area company stated it’s contemplating a “rescue” plan to ship an empty spacecraft to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) to deliver house three crew members forward of schedule after a coolant leak occurred whereas their Soyuz capsule was docked. Later on the circling outpost.

Officers from NASA and Russia’s area company, Roscosmos, stated at a press convention Thursday that they’re persevering with to research how the capsule’s exterior radiator coolant line sustained a small puncture final week, simply as the 2 astronauts had been getting ready for a routine spacewalk.

No last resolution has been made on the precise technique to return the capsule’s three crew members to Earth — both by launching one other Soyuz to retrieve them, or by sending them into the leaky capsule with out most of its coolant, which is unlikely.

Final week, the top of Russia’s crewed area program, Sergei Krikalev, stated the leak might have been brought on by a micrometeoroid strike, however he and his NASA colleagues left open the potential for different culprits, resembling {hardware} failure or an impression. Tiny items of area particles.

The Dec. 14 leak prompted mission controllers in Moscow to close down the spacewalk after a reside NASA webcast confirmed particles sparking from the again of the Soyuz spacecraft.

The leak lasted for a number of hours and emptied the radiator of coolant used to regulate the temperature contained in the spacecraft’s crew compartment.

Cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petlin, who had been match for spacewalks on the time, boarded the Soyuz MS-22 capsule to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) with US astronaut Frank Rubio in September.

NASA stated not one of the ISS crew was in speedy hazard from the leak.

They had been initially scheduled to return house in the identical spacecraft in March, however Krikalev and Joel Montalbano, NASA’s ISS program supervisor, stated Roscosmos would return them to Earth two or three weeks earlier if Russian area officers determine to launch an empty crew capsule. their restoration.

4 different ISS crew members — two extra from NASA, a 3rd Russian cosmonaut and a Japanese cosmonaut — boarded the ISS aboard the NASA-contracted SpaceX Crew Dragon in October and in addition parked their capsule on the station.


The leak has disrupted Russia’s ISS routines for weeks to come back, forcing the suspension of all future Roscosmos spacewalks as Moscow officers shift their focus to MS-22, a delegated lifeboat for the area station’s three crew members in case one thing goes unsuitable. .

If MS-22 is deemed unsafe for the three astronauts to return to Earth, one other Soyuz capsule in line to return Russia’s subsequent crew to the station in March “will probably be despatched unmanned to maintain (a) wholesome car on the station. Have the ability to rescue the crew,” Human Krikalev, Roscosmos’ government director for spaceflight, advised reporters.

There was no point out of sending an extra SpaceX Crew Dragon to the rescue.

Figuring out the reason for the leak can result in selections about the easiest way to get better crew members.

The current Geminid meteor bathe initially appeared to boost the chances of a micrometeoroid strike because the supply, however the leak confronted the unsuitable path for that to occur, Montalbano stated, though an area rock might have come from one other route.

Returning the stricken MS-22 to Earth appeared an unlikely selection given the vital function the coolant system performs in stopping overheating of the capsule’s crew compartment, which Montalbano and Krikalev stated is presently permitting air to circulation by means of a gap. Hatch from the ISS.

NASA beforehand stated the capsule’s temperature stays “inside acceptable limits” and a current take a look at of the capsule’s thrusters went with no hitch. However Krikalev added that temperatures would rise quickly as soon as the station’s hatch was closed.

The ISS, a science laboratory the size of a soccer discipline, orbits about 250 miles (400 km) from Earth and has been constantly occupied for 20 years, operated by a US-Russian-led partnership that features Canada, Japan and 11 European nations.

(This story has been reworded to take away extraneous phrases in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Joey Rulet in Washington; Modifying by Steve Gorman and Aurora Ellis)

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