Rescue of ISS astronauts. NASA can use the help of SpaceX: what is known
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So far, there is no final decision on whether NASA will use the Crew Dragon ship to send astronauts to Earth.
NASA is now considering options for returning three ISS astronauts to Earth – two Russians and one American. The problem is that the Soyuz spacecraft belonging to the Russian Federation is seriously damaged. Therefore, one of the options for bringing these astronauts home could be the use of the Crew Dragon spacecraft from SpaceX, writes Space.
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As I already wrote in detail Focus, with the Soyuz spacecraft, which is docked with the ISS, an unpleasant incident occurred two weeks ago: the cooling system was damaged. Both American and Russian experts are trying to establish the causes of the accident, but so far there are no results. Roskosmos reported that they would provide a full report in January.
A new report from NASA says the space agency is now in talks with SpaceX about the possible use of their spacecraft to deliver astronauts stuck in orbit. So far, nothing is known about the results of these negotiations.
NASA did not say exactly how the possible return of ISS astronauts to Earth will take place. The fact is that now one Crew Dragon ship is docked with the space station, on which the Russian woman Anna Kikina, the Americans Nicole Mann and Josh Kassada, and the Japanese Koichi Wakata flew there. That is, it may be that three Soyuz astronauts will also return on this ship, which will soon fly to Earth. Or maybe SpaceX can send a backup Crew Dragon to the ISS for this mission.
But the first option is difficult to implement, because it does not designed for that many people. And on the other hand, astronauts on the SpaceX ship use completely different spacesuits than those adapted for Soyuz flights. So far, NASA has not reported which option will be considered first.
So far, the cause of the accident on the Russian Soyuz has not been established, although some experts believe that a small hole found on it may indicate a hit micrometeorite. In fact, nothing threatens the crew of the space station yet, but if something unforeseen happens and an urgent evacuation is required, then the three astronauts will not be able to return home safely.