February 4, 2023

Eureka News

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The Soyuz spacecraft docked to the ISS emerges from a coolant leak

Eureka News Now —

A planned spacewalk by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has been canceled after a coolant leak was discovered originating from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft currently docked with the International Space Station.

NASA’s Rob Navias spoke of a “fairly significant” leak on a NASA television program late Wednesday night. Live images during the broadcast showed liquid spurting out of the Soyuz. Navias said the leak was first spotted around 7:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The Soyuz spacecraft is docked with the Russian segment of the space station. According to a NASA update Thursday afternoon, the Soyuz external cooling circuit is the suspected source of the leak.

The crew is safe, and all space station and ship systems are functioning normally, Roscosmos said in a statement in Russian posted to Twitter Thursday morning. (Eureka News Now translated the statement.) Navias also said the astronauts inside the space station are “never in danger.”

“The crew reported that the ship’s diagnostic system warning device had activated, indicating a drop in pressure in the cooling system,” Roscosmos said. “Visual inspection confirmed the leak, after which it was decided to halt planned activities outside the vehicle by Russian ISS segment crew members Sergey Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin.”

Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina used the camera on Russia’s Nauka module on the space station to “photograph and film the outer surface of the ship,” according to Roscosmos. “The data has been transmitted to Earth and the specialists have already started examining the images.”

Russian managers looked at the data and consulted “both NASA managers and engineers” and outside experts, Navias said.

More information about the leak is being gathered, NASA said.

“Plans are underway for an additional inspection of the Soyuz exterior using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm,” a NASA update said.

The Soyuz MS-22 carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and the two Russian cosmonauts to the space station on September 21 and is scheduled to return them to Earth in late March.

A NASA spacewalk to install a solar array outside of the space station on Monday remains on the schedule for astronauts Rubio and Josh Cassada. Meanwhile, a Russian spacewalk scheduled for December 21 has been postponed indefinitely.