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Damaged Soyuz capsule: "Have a big problem on the space station"


Concerns on board the ISS and among the ground staff: A Soyuz space capsule is damaged – in the worst case, the crew is missing a “lifeboat”.

Concerns on board the ISS and among the ground staff: A Soyuz space capsule is damaged – in the worst case, the crew is missing a “lifeboat”.

Update from January 4, 2023:

It is still unclear what will happen to the damaged Soyuz space capsule docked at the International Space Station.

While the Russian side continues to remain silent, NASA has said it has asked SpaceX if the company is able to transport additional crew members in an emergency.

One thing is clear: if Roscosmos sends a replacement Soyuz to the ISS or if SpaceX sends another "Crew Dragon" capsule, this should upset the planned crew rotations in the near future.

The next Soyuz launch with a new crew of three is actually planned for March 2023.

If the capsule is sent to the ISS earlier and without a crew, a new ISS crew will be missing.

The same applies to NASA: If SpaceX sends an empty "Crew Dragon" to the ISS, the capsule for the crew, which is actually supposed to leave for the ISS on February 19, 2023 at the earliest, is missing.

Security expert: Damaged Soyuz on the ISS is a risk

Although little is currently being heard about the damaged Soyuz, according to the director of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), it is a major risk.

Tommaso Sgobba told that it is "most likely the first time" that the space station does not have a full lifeboat.

Sgobba, who was once responsible for space security at the European Space Agency ESA, adds: "That's my personal feeling, but if it's true then we have a big problem on the space station.

We lack the rescue system for the crew.”

Damaged Soyuz: ISS crew may be missing a 'lifeboat'

First report from January 1, 2023:

Washington DC/Moscow - The time between Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is not only usually approached a little more calmly on Earth - it is also usually festive on board the International Space Station ISS.

There will be Christmas decorations, Christmas messages for loved ones on earth will be recorded and of course there will also be a celebratory meal.

But in 2022, which has just come to an end, the current ISS crew is likely to have had concerns between work and celebrations.

Because since a problem with a Soyuz space capsule on the night of December 14/15, it has not been clear whether the International Space Station still has enough "lifeboats" for the entire crew.

It is now known that the Soyuz capsule, which carried two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut to the ISS, has lost coolant.

However, it is still unclear whether the space capsule is still able to transport its crew consisting of Sergei Prokopjev, Dmitri Petelin and Frank Rubio back to Earth.

In the event of an emergency, the Soyuz capsule is used as a "lifeboat" on the ISS

But that's not all: In the event of danger - for example, if space debris comes too close to the ISS - the docked space capsules are also used as "lifeboats" for the crew: The astronauts then retreat into the capsules they came in and are always ready to undock from the ISS and, in the worst case, return to Earth.

However, the SpaceX “Crew Dragon” space capsule only has room for the four crew members who traveled with it: Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann (both Nasa), Koichi Wakata (Japan) and Anna Kikina (Russia).

Neither NASA nor the Russian space agency Roskosmos communicated what would happen in an emergency.

Both authorities have been investigating the incident since mid-December, but it has not yet been clarified whether the Soyuz capsule can actually still be used to transport a crew.

Soyuz space capsule on the ISS was probably damaged from the outside

According to Roskosmos, an examination of the Soyuz capsule found "that the cooler of the temperature control system has cracked due to external mechanical damage".

A meteoroid or a piece of space junk could be responsible, it is said.

At the beginning of January there should be a decision on how Russia will deal with the damaged Soyuz capsule.

There are three options:

  • The damaged Soyuz capsule could return its crew to Earth earlier than planned.

  • A crewless Soyuz capsule could dock autonomously with the ISS and serve as a means of transport for the “stranded” crew.

  • Another means of transportation for the Soyuz crew could be sought.

Nasa wants to find out if SpaceX can help in an emergency

The US space agency has already commented on the last of the three possibilities: "As part of the analysis, Nasa also contacted SpaceX to find out whether the company is able to bring additional crew members back if this is the case in an emergency." is required,” says the NASA website.

However, the focus is on understanding what the damaged Soyuz is still capable of.

It is not known whether it is about sending an additional SpaceX capsule to the International Space Station or about additional seats on board the capsule that is already at the ISS.

However, the situation is likely to be made more difficult by the fact that people who fly with the SpaceX capsule usually wear individually adapted space suits.

It is not yet known whether this is a problem.


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-05

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