Russia is prepping a ‘rescue’ mission following a coolant leak on a Soyuz capsule docked with the International Space Station. NASA stated in a media briefing that Russia’s Roscosmos company will ship an empty Soyuz to the station on February twentieth as a alternative for the broken spacecraft. The car was initially imagined to launch in March.

The leaking capsule is anticipated to return to Earth with out a crew someday in March. It will 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 slightly than departing in March as deliberate.

The affected craft began spraying particles December 14th. The ISS workforce shortly observed that an exterior radiator cooling loop was in charge, 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 tools. An in-space restore can be impractical because the process can be too tough, according to the company’s Sergei Krikalev.

The ISS crew remains to be ready to make use of the damaged Soyuz to evacuate in an emergency. However, that is not excellent when three of the seven folks aboard the ISS would possible have to just accept elevated dangers to return house. A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule can also be docked, but it surely usually solely takes 4 occupants. NASA’s ISS program head Joel Montalbano stated on the briefing that there had been talks with SpaceX to see if one of many Soyuz passengers may journey aboard the Crew Dragon if vital.

Relations between NASA and Roscomos are strained following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia stated final summer season that it might go away the ISS after 2024 to work by itself area station, and the US has been getting ready for a attainable Russian withdrawal since 2021. However, the capsule leak has successfully compelled the 2 to work carefully collectively — if solely briefly.

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