Russia plans to send rescue ship for ISS crew
< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">Screen capture from video of the NASA handover, which shows Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina entering the International Space Station from a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
Russia was evaluating the airworthiness of its spacecraft docked to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, after an impressive leak last week, and was considering a rescue mission for crew members blocked.
The leak of coolant from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft into space began on December 14. On images broadcast by NASA, we could clearly see a jet of particles escaping from the rear of the vehicle.
The damage is being assessed, said Sergei Krikaliov, the director of human spaceflight at the Russian space agency Roscosmos, during a briefing press conference organized Thursday by the American space agency.
If a thermal analysis – which assesses the temperature inside the cabin – concludes that the MS-22 spacecraft is unfit to accommodate a crew, the launch of another Soyuz capsule scheduled for mid-March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Russian launch base in Kazakhstan, could be advanced and the capsule would join the ISS without a crew, he said.
They plan to send the next Soyuz vehicle at the end of February, added Joel Montalbano, NASA ISS manager, who was also participating in the mission. call.
If that happened, the damaged spacecraft would return to Earth without a crew.
The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft brought in September the two Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin, as well as the American astronaut Frank Rubio.
There are currently seven people aboard the ISS, but if the MS-22 spacecraft were deemed unfit, it would also mean the space station would have a single rescue vehicle, capable of carrying just four people. , in case it needs to be evacuated.
Russian Anna Kikina, Americans Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada and Japanese Koichi Wakata arrived aboard a Dragon capsule from the American company SpaceX in October .
Further work is still needed to determine if the problem was caused by small, naturally occurring meteorites, man-made debris in orbit, or hardware failure, said -he adds.
The ISS is one of the few fields of cooperation still in progress between Moscow and Washington since the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, launched on February 24, and subsequent Western sanctions.
The International Space Station was launched in 1998 at a time of US-Russian cooperation, after the space race in which the two countries had engaged during the Cold War.