This is how NASA communicates with its spacecraft 1:08
Officials at Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, have chosen to delay the launch of a spacecraft that will replace one not deemed safe enough to carry astronauts after a second agency vehicle -- a spacecraft cargo—had a leak on Saturday, according to NASA.
Once authorized, the replacement spacecraft, Soyuz MS-23, will transport three astronauts currently stationed on the International Space Station back to Earth.
In December it was discovered that the spacecraft originally assigned to the mission, Soyuz MS-22, had a refrigerant leak.
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Roscosmos intended to launch the replacement MS-23 capsule this month and bring home cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dimitri Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio.
The rescue vehicle will be launched in March, according to a message from the official Roscosmos account on Telegram.
The Soyuz MS-22 manned spacecraft (foreground) docked to the International Space Station on October 8, 2022. The capsule leaked in December, and the launch of its replacement is now delayed.
Problems on the Russian cargo ship
The decision to delay its departure came after NASA confirmed that another Russian vehicle, a Progress craft designed to transport cargo that had docked with the space station on February 11, had a similar refrigerant leak.
"The reason for the loss of coolant on the Progress 82 spacecraft is under investigation," NASA said in a statement posted Saturday on its website.
"The hatches between Progress 82 and the station are open, and the temperatures and pressures aboard the station are all normal. The crew, who were informed of the leak in the refrigerant circuit, are in no danger and continue operations. normal for the space station," he added.
Roscosmos said in its Telegram message that it would delay the launch of the Soyuz MS-23 while the agency investigated the cause of the Progress vehicle's refrigerant leak.
However, the Russian space agency did not suggest the problems were related.
Rather, Roscosmos reiterated that the leak in the Soyuz MS-22 vehicle occurred when it was struck by an object in space, previously determined by officials to be a micrometeroid.
Roscosmos also shared new images of the MS-22 vehicle which it said were proof that the craft suffered external damage that caused the refrigerant to leak.