Russia announced Wednesday that its soyuz capsule currently attached to the International Space Station (ISS) and victim of a spectacular refrigerant leak last month will return to Earth without a crew.
“The experts concluded that the Soyuz MS-22 has to return to Earth without a crew,” said the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) in a statement confirming that the leak was caused by the “impact” of a small cosmic object that left a hole less than a millimeter in diameter. This despite the fact that in December he had ruled out that it was a meteorite.
Roscosmos announced that will send the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on February 20 to the International Space Station (ISS) to replace the Soyuz MS-22.
“The State Commission decided to launch the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on February 20, 2023 without a crew and with cargo bound for the ISS,” the director general of the Russian space agency, Yuri Borisov, told the Russian press.
According to the head of Roscosmos, the uncrewed flight allows to advance the launch of the spacecraft.
“After the situation that occurred in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on the ISS, two launch variants of the Soyuz MS-23 were discussed, with a cosmonaut on board, or in an unmanned regime,” he explained.
Borisov indicated that the variant of the flight with a single cosmonaut would require making changes to the ship and increasing the preparation of the crew, so the launch would be postponed by several weeks.
The crew members of the Russian segment of the ISS informed the ground control center last December that a sensor indicated that the pressure in the cooling system had dropped of the Soyuz hull, indicating a leak, which was “visually confirmed”.
This leak forced the cancellation of the spacewalk in which Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitri Petelin were to participate.
the russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina he took pictures and recorded videos of the Soyuz hull with a camera mounted on a robotic arm attached to the Naúka module.
The damage occurred to the hull of the Soyuz equipment and propulsion segment, which is also made up of the descent module and work and rest compartment.
On November 25, Prokofiev and Petelin’s spacewalk had to be canceled due to a problem with one of the diving suits.
In mid-August, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev also returned to the ISS early due to problems with his diving suit during an extravehicular activity.
(With information from EFE and AFP)
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