Russia confirmed that its Soyuz capsule was damaged “by a meteorite”: it must return to Earth without a crew

Soyuz capsule docks with the International Space Station (Roscosmos/file)

Russia announced Wednesday that it has Soyuz capsule currently attached b International Space Station (ISS) and a victim of last month’s spectacular coolant leak He will return to Earth without a crew.

The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) said in a statement that the leak must return to Earth without a crew. It was caused by the “impact” of a small cosmic body that left a hole less than a millimeter in diameter. This is despite the fact that in December it was ruled out to be a meteor.

Roscosmos announced this The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft will launch on February 20 to the International Space Station (ISS) to replace Soyuz MS-22.

“The state commission decided to launch the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on February 20, 2023 without crew and cargo bound for the International Space Station,” Yuri Borisov, director general of the Russian Space Agency, told the Russian press.

According to the head of Roscosmos, an unmanned flight will allow the spacecraft to be launched.

“After the situation that occurred in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on the International Space Station, two variants of the Soyuz MS-23 launch were discussed, with an astronaut on board, or in an unmanned system,” he explained.

A jet of particles, possibly a coolant, sprays from the International Space Station's Soyuz spacecraft[NASA/Reuters]
A jet of particles, possibly a coolant, sprays from the International Space Station’s Soyuz spacecraft[NASA/Reuters]

Borisov noted that the variant of the flight with one cosmonaut would require changes to the ship and further preparation of the crew, so the launch would be delayed for several weeks.

The crew of the Russian section of the International Space Station reported this to the Ground Control Center last December A sensor indicated that the pressure in the cooling system had dropped From the Soyuz hull, pointing out leak, which was “visually confirmed”.

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This leak forced the cancellation of the spacewalk involving Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin.

Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina He took pictures and recorded videos of the Soyuz structure with a camera mounted on a robotic arm attached to the Naúka module.

The Soyuz equipment hull and propulsion section, which also consists of the landing module and the working and resting compartment, were damaged.

On November 25, Prokofiev and Betlin’s spacewalks were canceled due to a problem with one of the diving suits.

In mid-August, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev also returned to the International Space Station early due to problems with his diving suit during an EVA.

(with info from EFE and AFP)

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