After the damage to the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, Russia has begun checking the consequences and suitability of the capsule docked to the International Space Station (ISS) for return to Earth. We dare remind you that on December 14, Soyuz MS-22 began spraying coolant into space through a hole in its hull. Since using a damaged spacecraft can be dangerous, a rescue mission for cosmonauts by Soyuz is currently being prepared.
If the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft is deemed unsafe, two astronauts and one NASA astronaut will have to wait until February for a backup Soyuz to arrive at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the next Russian mission to the ISS, which was planned for March 2023, will be postponed to a later date. Also, if the Soyuz rescue ship successfully evacuates the crew, the damaged MS-22 will return to Earth without the crew.
The cause of the accident
There are currently seven people on board the orbital outpost. If MC-22 is deemed unserviceable, it will mean that only one SpaceX Crew Dragon “escape pod” will remain on the ISS, capable of carrying a maximum of four people, in case an emergency evacuation is needed. The SpaceX capsule delivered Americans Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, Japanese Koichi Wakata and Russian Anna Kikina to the ISS in October.
The cause of the formation of the hole, which ended up in the coolant leakage, is still being investigated. Experts do not rule out that a piece of space debris 0.8 mm large might have caused it. But one idea was completely ruled out: the Geminid meteor shower absolutely could not have pierced the Russian old tub.
We previously reported how astronauts installed a new solar panel on the ISS.
Based on the materials of Space