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Russia to Send Empty Soyuz to Bring ISS Crew Home

The Soyuz capsule leak forces Russia to consider returning sooner

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

RUSSIA: Days after a leak on the Soyuz spacecraft forced the cancellation of the Russian spacewalk, Moscow is considering a rescue operation to evacuate its cosmonauts from the International Space Station.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, may send an empty spacecraft to carry the three cosmonauts to the flying lab.

In a press conference, representatives from Roscosmos and NASA insisted that they are looking into the reason for the leak aboard the Soyuz spacecraft and denied claims that the Geminid meteor shower was to blame.

The precise way to bring the three crew members of the capsule back to Earth is still uncertain.

According to sources, options include sending another Soyuz to retrieve them or, somewhat less likely, bringing them back in the leaky spacecraft without the majority of their coolant.

According to Roscosmos, the Soyuz MS-23, the next Soyuz spacecraft, has already undergone some testing in preparation for a launch in March. It was indicated that the launch could be advanced if necessary.

Yuri Borisov, the director of Roscosmos, told reporters on Monday that experts would assess the ship’s condition and decide how to proceed around December 27. According to him, the Soyuz’s hole was only 0.8 millimetres (0.03 inches) wide.

The spacewalk was cancelled by mission controllers in Moscow after a live NASA webcast on December 14 showed what appeared to be a flurry of snowflake-like particles spilling from the back of the Soyuz spacecraft.

The leak, which persisted for hours, entirely depleted the radiator that managed the temperature in the crew compartment of the spaceship.

The cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dimitri Petelin, who were dressed for the spacewalk at the time, were aboard the now-damaged Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, along with American astronaut Frank Rubio.

According to Krikalev and Joel Montalbano, manager of NASA’s International Space Station programme, if Russian space officials decide to launch an empty crew capsule for their retrieval, Roscosmos would bring them back to Earth two to three weeks earlier than their original return date in March on the same spacecraft.

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  • Russell Chattaraj
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    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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