Russia to send Soyuz spacecraft to replace damaged one at ISS


Russia plans to deliver a backup spacecraft to the Global Space Station to retrieve three crew members whose Soyuz capsule was damaged, possibly by a micrometeoroid, Russia and NASA officers stated Wednesday.

The alternative craft, which will have no crew aboard, is to be introduced Feb. 20 to choose up Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who all arrived at the station in September.

On Dec. 14, as the cosmonauts ended up making ready to go away the station’s airlock to perform a spacewalk, floor controllers noticed a leak of coolant spraying uncontrollably into house. Roscosmos, the Russian area company, instantly canceled the spacewalk and identified that the leak was coming from a very small hole in an exterior cooling line, about one millimeter broad. The coolant is used to retain the capsule at a relaxed temperature.

Due to the fact then, Roscosmos, in cooperation with NASA, experienced been striving to identify regardless of whether the spacecraft was suit to fly the crew residence or if the agency desired to send up a rescue craft. The groups determined that without the need of the coolant, temperatures within the spacecraft could exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperature merged with humidity could influence the spacecraft’s computing methods and also make the atmosphere uncomfortable for the crew.

After the new spacecraft comes at the station, Roscosmos options to fly, without having crew users, the damaged Soyuz back to Earth, in which it will be retrieved and inspected.

NASA and Roscosmos have said that the crew users on the station are not in risk and that they continued to carry out investigation and science experiments, which includes growing tomatoes, whilst crews on the floor made a remedy for the issue. Seven folks are aboard the station: the a few who flew on the Soyuz craft in September and 4 who flew to the station in Oct on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which also is docked at the station.

In a connect with with reporters Wednesday, NASA’s space station plan manager, Joel Montalbano, sought to downplay the severity of the issue, indicating there is “no fast have to have for the crew to occur dwelling now.”

Talking from Moscow, where by he was concerned in meetings with Roscosmos officers, Montalbano said NASA was not “calling it a rescue Soyuz. … I’m calling it a replacement Soyuz.”

Sergei Krikalev, executive director of Roscosmos’s human spaceflight applications, said the companies put together for this form of problem, figuring out they are particularly exceptional. “This is a circumstance we imagine, and now we are in essence pursuing the process,” he claimed.

Krikalev stated it was “the initial time I remember” acquiring to send a substitution spacecraft to the station. “We’ve by no means had the actual need to do this” he mentioned.

NASA and Roscosmos are analyzing selections in the event of an emergency that would have to have the crews to evacuate the station ahead of the rescue Soyuz arrives. The Soyuz crew could continue to board its spacecraft and use it as a lifeboat, without the need of returning to Earth’s atmosphere. It also might be doable to in shape an extra crew member in the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The system now would involve crews likely “in your respective cars currently,” Montalbano mentioned. “But, in parallel, we have been speaking to SpaceX and looking at an possibility of what we can do with the SpaceX automobile.”

He mentioned NASA officials concurred with Roscosmos’s view that the damage to the Soyuz car docked at the area station was probably brought on by a micrometeoroid. He stated there was practically nothing abnormal “in the manufacturing of this vehicle.” Earth’s orbit also has been flooded with debris from a Russian missile strike on a lifeless satellite in 2021 that, at the time, demanded crews on the place station to shelter in their spacecraft.

Total, Montalbano stated, NASA and Roscosmos “have labored incredibly effectively jointly, both the technological groups and the management staff. It is a legitimate testomony to the partnership.”

With a refreshing Soyuz at the station, Krikalev said, the three-member crew’s mission would be prolonged by a variety of months. It is not crystal clear, although, how the start of the alternative car would have an affect on NASA’s agenda. For now, SpaceX is predicted to fly a different crew of astronauts to the station in February. “We’ll need a pair a lot more months before we’re all set to define a bunch of new start dates,” Montalbano mentioned.

Crew members on the place station had been in very good spirits and continuing to go about their organization, he stated. But he additional: “I could have to fly some more ice cream up to reward them.”