Russian spacecraft causes massive leak on ISS

NASA television

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Russian spacecraft endangers lives aboard the International Space Station.

In another black eye for Moscow’s space program, the Soyuz-22 capsule which is attached to the ISS caused a massive coolant leak shortly before the start of a spacewalk of the Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin. The uncontrolled leak lasted more than three hours before finally stopping after running out of fluid.

A NASA spokesperson told The Daily Beast on Thursday that they “expect more updates later this morning” and offered no further comment. Ground crew from Russia’s Roscosmos space program are assessing the damage to find out the full impact of the leak on the Soyuz spacecraft.

Russia could well plunge the world into a dark era for space

“Russian flight controllers and flight controllers here at Mission Control in Houston have noticed a stream of particles exiting the Soyuz MS-22 vehicle which is attached to the Rassvet module on the Earth-facing side of the Russian segment of the International Space Station,” NASA mission commentator Rob Navias said on the agency’s spacewalk live stream.

The two cosmonauts were dressed and waiting in the depressurized airlock when flight controllers canceled the mission due to the leak. They had planned to move a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka science module when the damage was spotted.

In a later update, NASA said “crew members aboard the space station are safe and were in no danger during the escape.” However, the leak will undoubtedly call into question the long-term viability of the Soyuz spacecraft. The coolant could also hamper or even damage ISS exterior equipment, although the odds of this happening are quite low.

To say this is a bad look for the Russian spacecraft would be to underestimate it. At this point, if anything goes wrong on the ISS, you can bet it will be due to the Soyuz in some form or another. From mysterious holes drilled, to life-threatening malfunctions during launch, to misfiring thrusters and sending the ISS into free fall, there’s no shortage of mishaps from Soyuz craft.

And while the astronauts aboard the ISS remain cooperative and even friendly, things between the Russian and American space programs have been as cold as the vacuum of space – in large part due to the bloviant threats launched by the former head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin – and only exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This recent leaky debacle will no doubt add to that.

Hopefully they will find the reason for the hiccups soon. Needless to say, however, the new replacement space station for the ISS can’t come soon enough.

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