There is no threat to the crew on the ISS, but they could be stranded in space

Roscosmos continues to investigate the refrigerant leak on the Soyuz spacecraft attached to the International Space Station ( ISS ).


The space agency Roscosmos is investigating the intriguing coolant leak in the Soyuz spacecraft that sparked fear aboard the International Space Station ( ISS ).

That Thursday, the cosmonauts commissioned for a spacewalk had to cancel their routine mission , while the entities in charge began to study the problem. To date, there is no risk to orbiting scientists, but their return to Earth may take longer than anticipated.

More research

This Sunday, Roscosmos announced that the Canadian space agency’s SSRMS (Canadarm2) robotic arm will be in charge of inspecting the Soyuz .

The results will be transmitted to Earth this Monday, the agency says.

The SSRMS is a 17-meter-long arm that performs maintenance, transports supplies, and grabs vehicles to the space station.

Both the cause of the leak and its severity remain uncertain. Canadarm2’s observations are intended to augment those made hours after the leak by the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka module on the Russian segment of the station. Those observations were reportedly inconclusive in identifying the source of the leak.

Roscosmos said cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and Anna Kikina were enjoying a rest day on the International Space Station and would then watch the World Cup final.

NASA also delays operations

NASA also announced that a spacewalk by astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio, previously scheduled for December 19, would be pushed back to December 21 .

Despite the lack of information about the source of the leak, Roscosmos officials have speculated that it was caused by a micrometeorite impact. In a December 16 statement posted by Roscosmos on Telegram, a social networking service, Viktor Voropaev, a senior engineer at the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, said he believed the “prime suspect” was a rain-linked micrometeoid impact. of Geminid meteors. Mind you, he offered no other evidence to support that conclusion.

Roscosmos also denied a report in the Russian media that temperatures on the Soyuz spacecraft rose by up to 50 degrees Celsius after the loss of coolant. Instead, temperatures on the spacecraft hover around 30 degrees Celsius, which Roscosmos described as only a “slight change” and does not pose an immediate threat to the spacecraft or people on the station.

The Soyuz MS-22 could still function as a return vehicle, but if Roscosmos and NASA deem it unusable, Rubio, Prokopyev and Petelin would be stranded aboard the ISS until a replacement vehicle is flown to the orbiting laboratory.