February 4, 2023

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Russia could send an empty Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station for stranded astronauts – IT Pro – News

The Russian space agency Roscosmos, in cooperation with NASA, is considering whether to send an unmanned Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station. Currently, many astronauts are unable to return to Earth due to a leak in another capsule.

Space agencies don’t yet know if they will Leak in the current Soyuz MS-22 So dangerous that astronauts cannot safely return to Earth, says the CEO of Roscosmos Sergey Krikalev at a press conference. If the damaged capsule is already unsuitable for the return trip, an unmanned Soyuz capsule can be launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The crewed Soyuz capsule is scheduled for mid-March, but that could be brought forward to late February and headed to the International Space Station unmanned.

Krikalev argues that the damaged Soyuz MS-22 could return to Earth without astronauts in this scenario. There would have been a “hole less than a millimeter in diameter” in the radiator system, from which all the coolant leaked. This may disable the temperature control in the capsule, but the automatic and analog flight system should be fine.

The cause of the leak is not clear. At first it was speculated that it was the result of a small meteor shower. Both the US and Russian authorities contradict this; The direction of impact does not correspond to the damage in question. The accident is over captured photos. The capsule is docked at the International Space Station, but poses no threat to the rest of the space station.

Soyuz MS-22 brought Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin to the International Space Station in September this year. American Frank Rubio was also transported to the space station in this way and the goal is that the capsule will also eventually facilitate the return trip. The SpaceX capsule previously brought Americans Nicole Mann and Josh Kasada, Japan’s Koichi Wakata, and Russia’s Anna Kikina to the International Space Station and is also their re-entry vehicle.

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The International Space Station in orbit