NASA may be turning to its commercial partner SpaceX to return three astronauts to Earth after Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft experienced a coolant leak in mid-December.
In a blog post published on Friday, NASA He said He has “communicated with SpaceX about their ability to bring additional crew members back aboard Dragon if needed in an emergency.” NASA is currently studying whether the Soyuz spacecraft will still be able to carry astronauts on the return trip from the International Space Station.Added space agency.
The Soyuz spacecraft delivered NASA astronauts Frank Rubio and Roscosmos Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin to the International Space Station in September 2022. On December 14, the spacecraft launched Coolant leak in low Earth orbit during its attachment to the International Space Station. The refrigerant leak lasted for three hours and was caught live on NASA TV. The astronauts aboard the space station were unharmed, but the fate of the three astronauts who were to use the Soyuz spacecraft to return to Earth is still up in the air.
“NASA and Roscosmos continue to conduct a variety of technical reviews and consult with other international partners on ways to safely return the Soyuz crew home for normal and emergency scenarios,” NASA wrote in the blog. The two space agencies are expected to make a final decision on the viability of the spacecraft this month.
Roscosmos hopes to make a decision by December 27, however The space agency announced that it needed more time Evaluation of the flight capabilities of the Soyuz spacecraft. The exact reason for the leak has not been announced, although it could be Because of a small meteorite or small space debris This left A hole 0.8 mm wide in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.
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Rubio was the first NASA astronaut to fly on a Russian Soyuz rocket since then April 2021file result Seat swap agreement between the two space agencies. The arrangement stipulated that an American astronaut would board a Soyuz capsule versus a Russian astronaut who would board a spaceship. SpaceX Dragon crew for the first time. If the Soyuz spacecraft is deemed unsuitable for a crew return, NASA may ask SpaceX to send a Dragon crew to retrieve the three astronauts from the International Space Station and return them to Earth. The astronauts are due to return in the spring after spending six months aboard the International Space Station.
Next: A Russian cosmonaut had to abandon a spacewalk due to a power outage in his spacesuit
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