Russia announced on Wednesday that a Soyuz spacecraft currently docked at the International Space Station and victim of a spectacular leak last month would return to Earth without a passenger.
A vessel will pick up the crew members on February 20.
"Experts have concluded that the Soyuz MS-22 should return to Earth without a crew," the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) said in a statement.
The Russian agency has also confirmed that the leak was caused by the “impact” of a cosmic micro-object which caused the formation of a hole less than a millimeter in diameter.
Jet of white particles
On December 14, as the two Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin were preparing to perform a spacewalk, an alert system was triggered, indicating a drop in pressure in the spacecraft's cooling system, according to a press release. from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
On images broadcast by NASA, you could clearly see a jet of white particles escaping abundantly into space – a priori coolant.
"The cause of the leak could be a micrometeorite," Sergei Krikaliov, director of human spaceflight for Roscosmos, said on Thursday, according to a statement reported by the Russian news agency Tass.
The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft brought in September the two Russian cosmonauts as well as the American astronaut Frank Rubio.