SpaceX Could Help Bring Back 3 Astronauts Stranded on the ISS

A stream of particles shot out of the Soyuz spacecraft while it was attached to the ISS.

A stream of particles shot out of the Soyuz spacecraft whereas it was connected to the ISS.
Screenshot: NASA

NASA could flip to its industrial accomplice SpaceX to move three astronauts again to Earth after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft suffered a coolant leak in mid-December.

In a weblog submit revealed on Friday, NASA said that it “reached out to SpaceX about its capability to return additional crew members aboard Dragon if needed in an emergency.” At the second, NASA is investigating whether or not or not the Soyuz spacecraft would nonetheless be able to carrying astronauts on the journey again from the International Space Station, the house company added.

The Soyuz spacecraft transported NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin to the ISS in September 2022. On December 14, the spacecraft started leaking coolant into low Earth orbit whereas connected to the ISS. The coolant leak lasted for 3 hours and was captured on a livestream by NASA TV. The astronauts on board the house station weren’t harmed, however the destiny of the three astronauts that have been meant to make use of the Soyuz spacecraft to return to Earth stays up within the air.

“NASA and Roscosmos are continuing to conduct a variety of engineering reviews and are consulting with other international partners about methods for safely bringing the Soyuz crew home for both normal and contingency scenarios,” NASA wrote within the weblog submit. The two house businesses are anticipated to make a last choice concerning the viability of the spacecraft this month.

Roscosmos hoped to decide by December 27, however the house company introduced that it wanted extra time to judge the flight capabilities of the Soyuz spacecraft. The actual purpose behind the leak has not been introduced, though it could have been attributable to a micrometeorite or a tiny piece of house junk that left an 0.8-millimeter-wide gap within the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.

Rubio was the primary NASA astronaut to fly aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket since April 2021, the results of a latest seat-swap settlement between the 2 house businesses. The association stipulated {that a} U.S. astronaut would experience aboard a Soyuz capsule in trade for a Russian cosmonaut boarding a SpaceX Crew Dragon for the very first time. Should the Soyuz spacecraft be deemed unusable for a crew return, NASA could name on SpaceX to ship a Crew Dragon to select up the three astronauts from the ISS and produce them again to Earth. The astronauts are scheduled to return within the spring after having spent six months on board the ISS.

More: Russian Cosmonaut Forced to Abandon Spacewalk Due to Spacesuit Power Malfunction

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