Russian Soyuz MS-22 Spacecraft Leak Hole Detected, Report Says

A small hole has been found in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that is docked at the International Space Station (ISS).

Wednesday night (Dec. 14), as two cosmonauts were getting ready to do a spacewalk outside the orbiting lab, coolant leaked out of the Soyuz (which was soon canceled). Since then, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has been working with its ISS partners to figure out what caused and led to the leak.

Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Leak Hole Detected
Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Leak Hole Detected

As part of this help, cameras on the big Canadarm2 robotic arm will be used to check the area of the Soyuz where there might be a leak. Sunday (Dec. 18) was the last day of that survey, and NASA said Monday (Dec. 22) that it had found some important clues (Dec. 19).

NASA said in a blog post on Monday evening, “A small hole was seen, and the surface of the radiator around the hole was discolored” (opens in new tab). “Roscosmos is looking at the pictures to see if this hole could have been made by a piece of a micrometeoroid or if it is one of the radiator vent holes that were already made.”

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One of the most popular ideas about the Soyuz leak is that it was hit by debris. For example, a Russian scientist brought up the idea in an interview with the state-run news service TASS a few days ago.

In September, the Soyuz with the number MS-22 took Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin, and Frank Rubio from NASA to the ISS. It will bring the three people back to Earth in March.

Roscosmos is figuring out if the vehicle, which doesn’t seem to have any coolant left, is up to the task. By the end of the month, a choice should have been made.

Russian space officials have said that if MS-22 is not deemed safe to fly, another Soyuz will take off from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to bring Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio home.

On December 14, 2022, coolant leaked from Russia’s Soyuz crew capsule, which was docked to the International Space Station. Along with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, the Soyuz is one of only two spacecraft that take astronauts to and from the ISS.

Soon, though, they should be joined by another one. In May, Boeing’s Starliner capsule made a test flight to the orbiting lab without astronauts on board. In April, it will be the first time astronauts will go there.’

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