Progress MS-21 lost the entire coolant

On February 11, the external circuit of the cooling system was depressurized on the Russian Progress MS-21 cargo spacecraft. As a result, it completely lost the coolant.

Progress MS-21. Source: NASA

Progress MS-21 was launched on October 26, 2022. It delivered 2,520 kg of supplies to the ISS. After unloading, the station crew moved various debris on board the spacecraft. Progress MS-21 was scheduled to undock from the ISS on February 18, after which it would be sunk in the Pacific Ocean.

On February 11, a leak occurred from the Progress MS-21 cooling system. This happened just half an hour after the next Progress MS-22 supply spacecraft docked to the ISS. As a result, the space truck completely lost its coolant.

Recall that on December 15, a similar accident occurred on the ISS involving the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. For some time, Roscosmos claimed that its lander was safe for the crew. But in the end, it was decided to launch the next Soyuz MS-23 in unmanned mode, so that the Soyuz MS-22 crew would use it to return to Earth. The cause of the leakage of the coolant was called the hit of micrometeorite.

The new accident confirmed the suspicions of many experts that the official version of Roscosmos had nothing to do with reality. The Progress and Soyuz spacecraft have the same cooling system design. The assumption that we are talking about some incredible coincidence, and both spacecraft were attacked by micrometeorites that hit the same place, does not stand up to any criticism.

Despite all this, so far Rosmosmos has not made any statements about postponing the launch of Soyuz MS-23, which cooling system may well have a similar defect. But it is possible that such a decision will still be made in the coming days. Since American astronaut Frank Rubio is due to return to Earth on Soyuz MS-23, NASA will almost certainly require additional verification of the spacecraft. If there are reasonable doubts about the safety of the Soyuz MS-23, it is quite possible that the Crew Dragon spacecraft will be used to return Rubio.

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