February 3, 2023

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Major leak in Russian spacecraft - NRK Urix - Foreign News & Documentaries

Major leak in Russian spacecraft – NRK Urix – Foreign News & Documentaries

Video from the International Space Station last night showed large amounts of liquid pouring out from the MS-22 Soyuz spacecraft.

The leak was discovered at 01:44 Norwegian time and lasted for at least three hours.

The leak may have contaminated parts of the International Space Station. Astronauts inside the space station were ordered not to open the protection on the windows facing the docked vehicle.

Late Thursday morning, neither NASA nor Russia’s Roscosmos confirmed that the leak had stopped. Video from the station shows no visible leakage.

Investigator: Video from the station Thursday morning showed no ongoing leakage. It has not been confirmed that the leak has stopped. In this still image, the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft is being scanned by a robotic arm.

Image: NASA

The astronauts are safe

What leaked is liquid ammonia. It is a liquid used in the station’s cooling systems and in the Soyuz spacecraft. Ammonia is highly corrosive.

NASA says the leak did not endanger the space station crew. There are seven people on board the station. There are three Russians, three Americans, and one Japanese.

What led to the leak is still not clear. NASA stated that it is trying, together with space control in Moscow, to find out what happened and what the next steps should be.

Ammonia leak from the Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft

Big sums: The leak was discovered when Russian cosmonauts were resting on the outside of the station.

Image: NASA

At the same time as space travel

The leaks were discovered just minutes before two Russian cosmonauts took a spacewalk outside the station. This spacewalk has now been postponed indefinitely.

The two Russian cosmonauts had to change the radiator on the outside of the Russian part of the station. This coolant also uses ammonia.

During the past five days, the station has also been exposed to intense heat. The path it follows means that it is exposed to continuous sunlight, and with it thermal radiation.

It is normal for the station to go into the darkness of the night during each orbit around the Earth, but a few times a year a situation arises where this does not happen for a long time.

The sun as seen from the International Space Station

HIGH BETA: An image of the Sun and the station during what is called High Beta mode. Because of the sun’s orbit and position, the station experiences a constant heavy heat load for days at a time.

Photo: Roscosmos

It’s a lifeboat

The Kalvarnish spacecraft is the lifeboat of American Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin.

They used this vehicle when they went into space on September 21st. After that, Soyuz MS-22 was connected to the station. The return trip with the ship is planned for the end of March next year.

Astronaut Frank Rubio

Difficulty: US astronaut Frank Rubio will use Soyuz MS-22 to return to Earth. If the ship is now too damaged to have people on board, it is uncertain when Rubio will be able to return home.

Photo: Bill Stafford – NASA – JSC / Bill Stafford – NASA – JSC

It is imperative that everyone aboard the International Space Station have a lifeboat available. In an emergency, they should be able to leave the station within minutes.

Without a functioning lifeboat, it is uncertain if the three could have stayed on station, but at the same time, it is uncertain how they could return without this ship.

No more spacecraft this year

There are two human spacecraft attached to the station now. The other is SpaceX’s Dragon. It was used to ferry Americans Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada to the station on October 5. Also present were Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian astronaut Anna Kikina.

The four have this dragon ship as their lifeboat.

The next planned trip to the station won’t happen until February 19. There is also a dragon. It is planned to carry four new astronauts.

The next planned Russian spacecraft is the Soyuz, which will be launched on March 16.

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