Russia will ship a ‘rescue’ spacecraft to the ISS following leak

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Russia is prepping a ‘rescue’ mission following a coolant leak on a Soyuz capsule docked with the Worldwide Area Station. NASA mentioned in a media briefing that Russia’s Roscosmos company will ship an empty Soyuz to the station on February twentieth as a substitute for the broken spacecraft. The automobile was initially presupposed to launch in March.

The leaking capsule is anticipated to return to Earth with out a crew someday in March. It is going to nonetheless carry experiments and different cargo. Cosmonauts Dmitriy Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, in addition to NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, will now stay in orbit for a number of months longer moderately than departing in March as deliberate.

The affected craft began spraying particles December 14th. The ISS workforce rapidly observed that an exterior radiator cooling loop was accountable, and investigators later decided {that a} micrometeoroid struck the radiator. Roscosmos quickly determined the Soyuz was too harmful to make use of for the standard crew return. Temperatures would have climbed previous 100F on reentry, threatening each occupants and laptop gear. An in-space restore could be impractical because the process could be too tough, according to the company’s Sergei Krikalev.

The ISS crew continues to be ready to make use of the damaged Soyuz to evacuate in an emergency. Nevertheless, that is not superb when three of the seven individuals aboard the ISS would seemingly have to just accept elevated dangers to return residence. A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule can also be docked, but it surely usually solely takes 4 occupants. NASA’s ISS program head Joel Montalbano mentioned on the briefing that there had been talks with SpaceX to see if one of many Soyuz passengers might journey aboard the Crew Dragon if needed.

Relations between NASA and Roscomos are strained following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia mentioned final summer time that it could leave the ISS after 2024 to work on its own space station, and the US has been preparing for a possible Russian withdrawal since 2021. Nevertheless, the capsule leak has successfully pressured the 2 to work carefully collectively — if solely briefly.

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