Russia to ditch one of its two leaky space station ships over the ocean

Russia to ditch one of its two leaky space station ships over the ocean

Russia will get rid of a leaky supply ship this weekend that had been docked with the International Space Station, allowing it to burn above the Pacific Ocean, according to Nasa.

The managers of Russia space The Roscosmos agency has decided to bring back the Progress 82 cargo capsule with an engine burnout scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET on Saturday. They made the decision after undocking the ship(Opens in a new tab) Friday evening to better see his radiator.

No astronauts will be aboard the deorbiting spacecraft, as it is not intended for passengers. NASA said the ship is loaded with waste(Opens in a new tab).

The dispatch follows the discovery of a coolant leak aboard the spacecraft February 11(Opens in a new tab)making it the second Russian spacecraft to cause a leak at the space station in the past two months.

A Soyuz capsule to transport humans also suffered a coolant leak in December 2022, leaving three crew members unreturned. After an investigation into the first leak, Russian and American space officials believed that a micrometeoroid smaller than a sharpened pencil point caused the puncture, not a manufacturing defect. The coolant seeping into the space, caught on live video(Opens in a new tab)was intended to keep the cabin at a comfortable temperature.

But officials have not yet specified the culprit for the cargo leak.

“The entire NASA and Roscosmos team has continued to work together to investigate the cause of this situation, and we will continue to do so,” said Jeff Arend, director of the space station engineering office at NASA. NASA, during an independent press conference on Friday. “We will know more in the coming days.”

“We will know more in the coming days.”

Roscosmos investigated a coolant leak aboard a spacecraft that was to send an astronaut and two cosmonauts home in March 2023.
Credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP Via Getty Images

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The two agencies had previously determined that the leaking crew capsule would be unfit to bring three men home. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio(Opens in a new tab) and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, who arrived at the space station in September 2022, were due to stay at the lab in Earth orbit for six months, with a return trip scheduled for March.

But it has not been clear when they will return home.

Despite the Russian-Ukrainian war and geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States, space agencies from both nations have continued to work collaboratively on the space station.

Joel Montalbano, NASA space station program manager, said in January the crew took the news that their return route was still to be determined, were excited to do research in space and were ready. to stay a full year if necessary.

“I might have to steal more ice to reward them,” he said then.

Earlier Saturday, Roscosmos said it wanted to launch an empty ship for the abandoned crew on February 24, according to press dispatches(Opens in a new tab). A state commission must approve the new date, according to a report by Agence France-Presse on Saturday.

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