HomeAndroidSpacecraft Leak Postpones Russian 'Lifeboat' Mission to ISS

Spacecraft Leak Postpones Russian ‘Lifeboat’ Mission to ISS

Russia’s Progress 81 resupply ship (not to be confused with the afflicted Progress 82 ship), seen departing the ISS on February 7, 2023.

Russia’s Progress 81 resupply ship (to not be confused with the Progress 82 ship), seen departing the ISS on February 7, 2023.
Picture: NASA

For the second time in two months, a docked Russian spacecraft on the Worldwide Area Station has sprung a coolant leak. Investigators don’t but know the reason for the newest leak, prompting Russia’s area company to delay the launch of a ‘lifeboat’ that’s meant to safe the security of two cosmonauts on board.

The MS-23 Soyuz spacecraft—the uncrewed alternative automobile—was scheduled to launch on Sunday, February 20, however Roscosmos has now bumped the mission to an unspecified date in early March. The Soyuz spacecraft it’s meant to interchange, MS-22, sprung a coolant leak in mid-December, rendering it unsafe for a crewed journey again house.

On Saturday, Russia’s Progress 82 freighter, which arrived on the station this previous October, skilled a near-identical concern, through which its exterior radiator unexpectedly and quickly misplaced all of its coolant. It’s not but clear whether or not the 2 incidents are associated, as Russian investigators attributed the primary leak to a micrometeorite strike.

“The launch of the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft in crewless mode has been postponed till not later than the primary ten-day interval of March in order that we will make sure and discover the place of the potential breakdown [of the Progress 82 cargo ship],” Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov defined on Monday, Russian state media TASS reported.

TASS says the Progress 82 automobile is “remoted from the orbital outpost” whereas the reason for the anomaly is being investigated. This runs opposite to a NASA assertion from Saturday, which claimed that the “hatches between the Progress 82 and the station are open.” NASA, except for this transient assertion, has been quiet on the matter.

Dmitry Strugovets, a former Roscosmos spokesman, said during an emergency meeting at spacecraft manufacturer RKK Energia the leak began at around 4:40 a.m. ET on February 11, RussianSpaceWeb reported. The Progress 82 radiator is essentially out of sight, requiring the area station crew to examine the injury utilizing a digicam mounted to the Canadarm robotic arm. It’s not clear if that is going to work, given the suboptimal vantage factors out there. It’s additionally not clear if Progress 82 will depart the station on February 18 as beforehand deliberate.

Again in January, investigators concluded that MS-22 was struck by a tiny meteorite, a call gleaned from imagery evaluation and hypervelocity floor checks. {That a} second micrometeorite struck a second radiator appears grossly inconceivable, main investigators to ponder a potential frequent glitch, whether or not mechanical or procedural. In his latest feedback, nonetheless, Borisov hinted at a potential coincidence. “An emergency fee has been arrange, which is analyzing all of the [possibilities] systemically and completely,” TASS quoted him as saying. “The results of each anomalies is identical however their causes will be completely different.”

New close-up images showing damage to the MS-22 spacecraft, which Roscosmos claims was caused by a micrometeorite strike. The brown discoloration was caused by the escaping coolant, which poured out from the Soyuz capsule on December 16, 2022.

New close-up photographs displaying injury to the MS-22 spacecraft, which Roscosmos claims was brought on by a micrometeorite strike. The brown discoloration was brought on by the escaping coolant, which poured out from the Soyuz capsule on December 16, 2022.
Picture: Roscosmos

As if to place a finer level on this argument, Roscosmos launched new close-up photographs on Telegram of the injury to the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, which the Russian area company insists was brought on by a micrometeorite, not area particles or a producing defect.

It’s not ideally suited that the expedited MS-23 mission has been delayed, as cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin are presently with out a lifeboat ought to a severe emergency happen on the station. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who additionally arrived through MS-22, might search shelter contained in the docked SpaceX Endurance Crew Dragon, which was just lately refitted to accommodate an additional passenger.

As all of that is occurring, NASA and SpaceX are making ready to launch the Crew-6 mission to the ISS, presently scheduled for February 26. Onboard will probably be NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, and UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi. A number of days later, NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA’s Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina will return house aboard Endurance.

It’s potential that the arrival of Crew-6 and departure of Crew-5 will occur earlier than MS-23 will get off the bottom. Ought to that occur, Rubio will as soon as once more be with out a dependable emergency automobile. Temperature and humidity management contained in the Soyuz MS-22 crew cabin is just not potential owing to its broken radiator. The present plan is for Rubio, together with Prokopyev and Petelin, to return house in September. As for the unique crew of MS-23, they’ll have to attend for the MS-24 mission, presently scheduled for later this yr.

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