The capsule on the International Space Station was crippled by a meteoroid just ahead of the crew departing for Earth, it has been revealed.
After the horrific recent events when their spaceship’s coolant leaked in such a dramatic fashion just ahead of their departure for Earth from the International Space Station, the stuck crew will be rescued by a new Russian space corporation Roscosmos’ capsule, it has been announced. Roscosmos will launch a new spacecraft to bring some of the crew back to Earth.
The scary part is that it has been confirmed that the leak in the Soyuz capsule was caused by a micrometeoroid crashing into it. NASA says that a micrometeoroid is a particle smaller than a grain of sand. However, even this small a thing can have such a big effect on the hard surfaces of these flying machines.
Notably, two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, and one NASA astronaut, Frank Rubio had planned to use the Soyuz MS-22 capsule to return to Earth in December. However, the leaked coolant led to higher cabin temperatures and amid the uncertainty, their departure was scrapped.
Now, Roscosmos has announced that it will launch a new Soyuz MS-23 capsule to rescue the stuck crew. However, this capsule will be crewless. It will be launched on February 20.
That also means the mission of Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will be extended, but Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov did not specify for how long.
Notably Roscosmos’ and NASA’s long term plans may be affected as the Soyuz MS-23 was scheduled to be launched in March to carry two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut into orbit.
Borisov provided the thought that went into the upcoming launch of Soyuz MS-23, saying that Roscosmos had explored the option of launching the new Soyuz with one crew member, but that would have meant even longer time to prepare.
The Soyuz MS-23 will be crewless, but it will be utilized to ferry supplies to the International Space Station.
Considering the fraught situation the astronauts find themselves in, officials have also considered using the disabled Soyuz MS-22 capsule to evacuate the crew, before the new capsule’s arrival, in case of an emergency on the International Space Station.
Notably, the first inkling that something was wrong on Soyuz MS-22 was spotted when the Russians were about to step outside the station on a planned spacewalk. In fact, ground specialists saw a stream of fluid and particles leaking from the Soyuz on a live video feed from space.
The problem of the stricken Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft will also be solved and it will likely be sent back to Earth without a crew.
Not just Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, there are four other crew members currently on the ISS.