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Roscosmos is delaying the launch of the replacement Soyuz for crew return
The investigation into the latest radiator leak on Progress MS-21 is underway, inspection and photos will be taken using the ISS' 17-meter-long Canadarm2 robotic arm.
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Roscosmos is delaying the launch of the replacement Soyuz for crew return
by Staff Writers
Space Coast FL (SPX) Feb 15, 2023

The launch of the unmanned Soyuz MS-23, a replacement vehicle for the damaged Soyuz MS-22, was postponed until March 2023; it was originally planned to launch on February 19th, 2023, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

MS-23 will serve as a rescue spacecraft that will bring Cosmonauts Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). Their original Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that brought them to the ISS lost all of its coolant on December 14, 2022. Roscosmos engineers have concluded that the damaged Soyuz cannot safely return its crew to Earth, except in the event of an emergency.

"The main problem to land with the current Soyuz would be thermal conditions," Sergei Krikalev, a veteran Russian cosmonaut and Roscosmos' executive director for human spaceflight systems, said during the news conference. "Because we lost heat rejection capability on Soyuz, in case we have crew inside and we have all equipment switched on, we may have a high-temperature situation on Soyuz in the equipment compartment and crew compartment."

According to Joel Montalbano, NASA's space station program manager, during a 6 hour or longer trip to return to Earth, the internal temperature inside the Soyuz could reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), and the humidity levels would also soar in the confined space of the capsule.

"The temperatures in those areas would not be healthy for the crew," Montalbano added.

Kirkalev said that an investigation concluded that a small micrometeoroid hit and punctured a hole in the radiator of Soyuz MS-22.

The announcement was published in Roscosmos' official Telegram account on February 13th.

The agency released the first public images of the external damaged area that led to the total loss of coolant in the Soyuz MS-22, the pictures showed a small hole surrounded by brown stains.

Yury Borisov, chief of Russia's Roscosmos, said that the exact date will be announced once the cause of the coolant leak that occurred on the Progress MS-22 shortly after the docking of the Progress MS-21 two days ago is determined.

The investigation into the latest radiator leak on Progress MS-21 is underway, inspection and photos will be taken using the ISS' 17-meter-long Canadarm2 robotic arm.

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