Tech & Science

Roscosmos: Russian spacecraft leak caused by external impact

Moscow –

A Russian space company said Tuesday that a coolant leak from an unmanned Russian supply ship docked at the International Space Station was caused by an external shock, not a manufacturing defect.

The leak from the Progress MS-21 cargo ship was discovered on 11 February, following a similar leak from the Soyuz crew capsule in December.

Russian space officials said the December leak was caused by a small meteor leaving a small hole in the outer radiator and spewing coolant into space. The leak cast doubt on that theory, and Russia’s state-owned space company, Roscosmos, has launched an investigation into the incident to see if it could be attributed to a manufacturing defect.

NASA said experts are assisting its Russian counterparts in troubleshooting the leak.

Roscosmos said following checks at Russia’s space factory and launch facility and a close inspection of the cargo ship before it was jettisoned, the latest leak was similar to the one that caused a leak from the Soyuz crew capsule in December. on Tuesday. Roscosmos posted a close-up shot of her showing her 12 mm (0.5 inch) hole in the Progress MS-21’s external radiator.

After ruling out manufacturing defects, Roscosmos allowed the launch of a new Soyuz crew capsule that needed to replace the damaged one.

Russian astronauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio were scheduled to return to Earth aboard the Soyuz, which arrived at the space station in March. Officials determined that the temperature rise from the coolant leak was dangerous. It will return to Earth next month without a crew.

Roscosmos announced that a new Soyuz MS-23 capsule to replace it will launch in automatic mode on Friday and dock with the station on Sunday.

The replacement crew will have to wait until another Soyuz capsule is ready to move in unmanned mode to speed up the launch. That means Prokopiev, Peterin, and Rubio will stay on the station until September of his year, completing the mission.

NASA said it participated in all discussions and agreed to the plan.

Along with Prokopiev, Peterin, and Rubio, the space station is home to NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Kasada. Anna Kikina from Russia. and Koichi Wakata of Japan. The four boarded the SpaceX capsule last October.

Roscosmos announced on Tuesday that Russia will extend its participation in the International Space Station until 2028, saying Russia plans to leave the station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost. It reversed a statement made last year by Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov.

The International Space Station, which has served as a symbol of post-Cold War international cooperation, has become one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Russia and the West amid tensions over Russian military actions in Ukraine. It’s becoming

NASA and its partners want the International Space Station to continue operating through 2030.

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