Space station leak. NASA and Russia just revealed why.

A stab from an accelerating micrometeoroid smaller than the tip of a sharpened pencil sent a Russian spacecraft at International Space Station unfit to fly home crew, including a NASA astronauts, Russia said on Wednesday.

Russian spatial Instead, the Roscosmos agency will send a new trip to the space station on February 20 for the three crew members to return to Earth. However, it seems unlikely that the return flight will take place any time soon.

one astronaut and three astronauts

NASA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, have been investigating a coolant leak on a spacecraft intended to take one cosmonaut and two cosmonauts home in March 2023.
Credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP Via Getty Images

astronaut Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prolopyev and Dmitri Petelin used a Russian spacecraft, a Soyuz MS-22, to get to the space station in September 2022. But just before the follow-up spacewalk plan on December 14, space agencies’ ground team noticed The capsule attached to the station is leaking coolant. Permeation was detected on live video cameras.

Meanwhile, inside the spacecraft’s cabin, temperatures rose to mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We think Soyuz will return safely,” Sergei Krikalev, Roscosmos’ head of manned spaceflight, told reporters on a call. “The problem is that at small volumes the humidity can be high and the crew can overheat with high temperatures and high humidity.”

“We think Soyuz will return safely,”

After an investigation, Roscosmos and NASA identified a fast micrometeorite — a millimeter-wide blob of rock, Not man-made space junk — must have hit an external radiator. They plan to bring back the leaked spacecraft with no passengers and send a new one, Soyuz MS-23, to replace it next month. The replacement would bring supplies to the Earth-orbiting lab but fly without an additional crew.

The three men were originally supposed to go home in March. The change of plans will keep them at the station longer, though it’s unclear how much. The incident will also delay the rotation of new crew.

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If an emergency occurs at the station, a space Capsules are also docked there. NASA is in talks with the company about how the crew could use it if the astronauts had to evacuate immediately.

Joel Montalbano, NASA’s space station program manager, said the crew has received the good news, is excited to do research in space and is willing to stay for a full year if they have to.

“I might have to fly some more ice cream to reward them,” he said.


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