The area station sprung a leak. NASA and Russia simply revealed why.

A puncture from a dashing micrometeoroid smaller than a sharpened pencil tip has rendered a Russian spaceship on the Worldwide House Station unfit to fly crew dwelling, together with one NASA astronaut, Russia stated Wednesday.

The Russian area company Roscosmos will as a substitute ship a brand new trip as much as the area station on Feb. 20 for the three crew members to return again to Earth. It does not appear that return flight will occur anytime quickly, although.


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one astronaut and three cosmonauts

NASA and the Russian area company, Roscosmos, investigated a coolant leak onboard a spacecraft that was meant to ship an astronaut and two cosmonauts dwelling in March 2023.
Credit score: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP Through Getty Pictures

Astronaut Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prolopyev and Dmitri Petelin used a Russian spacecraft, a Soyuz MS-22, to get to the area station in September 2022. However simply previous to a deliberate spacewalk on Dec. 14, the area businesses’ floor crews observed the capsule hooked up to the station was leaking coolant. The seepage was noticed on stay video cameras.

In the meantime, contained in the spaceship’s cabin, temperatures rose into the mid-80 levels Fahrenheit.

“We predict that Soyuz will return again safely,” Sergei Krikalev, Roscosmos’ head of human spaceflights, informed reporters on a name. “The issue is that in small quantity, humidity will be excessive, and crew could overheat with excessive temperature and excessive humidity.”

“We predict that Soyuz will return again safely,”

After an investigation, Roscosmos and NASA decided a quick micrometeoroid — a millimeter-wide speck of rock, not human-made area junk — should have struck an exterior radiator. They plan to convey again the leaky spaceship with out passengers and ship a brand new one, a Soyuz MS-23, to interchange it subsequent month. The substitute will carry provides to the low-Earth orbiting laboratory however fly with out extra crew.

The three males had been initially supposed to return dwelling in March. The change of plans will preserve them on the station longer, although it isn’t clear by how a lot. The incident additionally will delay a brand new crew rotation.

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If an emergency occurred on the station, a SpaceX capsule can be docked there. NASA is in talks with the corporate about how the crew may probably use it if astronauts needed to instantly evacuate.

Joel Montalbano, NASA’s area station program supervisor, stated the crew have taken the information properly, are excited to be doing analysis in area, and are ready to remain a full 12 months if they need to.

“I’ll need to fly some extra ice cream to reward them,” he stated.

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