A lifeboat for members of the ISS crew is on the way. A Roscosmos investigation of a leak in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft found that the ship is unsafe to use for a ride home, and the agency announced this morning that it will send an uncrewed Soyuz to the station to use instead.
What happened? Last month, a micrometeoroid struck an external coolant loop on the Soyuz MS-22, which was docked to the ISS. The impact made a tiny hole that resulted in all the coolant in that loop leaking into the void of space.
- NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin journeyed to the ISS aboard that capsule, and were expected to make the return trip in March.
The solution: Roscosmos reviewed the data from the leak and determined that it rendered the Soyuz MS-22 capsule unusable for the journey home.
The three crew members will now have to extend their stay on the station for an unknown amount of time. Russia plans to send up the MS-23 capsule, which was originally planned to carry three cosmonauts to replace the departing crew. The agency hasn’t yet announced when that crew’s flight will launch.