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NASA Has Reached Out To SpaceX For Rescue Of Potentially Stranded Astronauts

The review of the Soyuz's leakage is not finished, but the agencies are looking at other alternatives.

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Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

Alfredo (he/him) has a PhD in Astrophysics on galaxy evolution and a Master's in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces.

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

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The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is pictured in the foreground docked to the Rassvet module as the International Space Station orbited 264 miles above Europe. In the background, is the Prichal docking module attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
The Souyz MS-22 as it appeared back in October. Image Credit: NASA

Three weeks ago, the Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft sprung a leak as it was attached to the International Space Station (ISS). In the immediate aftermath, a spacewalk had to be canceled but a more serious concern became clear as time went on. How will the two cosmonauts and one astronaut that used it to get to space come back down?

The damage to the space vehicle, possibly caused by a micrometeorite, is still being assessed. The leak released coolant from the spacecraft so the concern is that it might not be suitable for reentry. As teams from Roscosmos and NASA continue their analysis multiple options are being considered. 

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The Russian space agency has put forward a possible plan B: sending home the eplty one and pushing forward the launch of a new Soyuz to February so it can be used by Sergey Prokopeyev and Dmitri Petelin, and astronaut Frank Rubio to come back in April.

NASA has now revealed it has contacted SpaceX to discuss options for an emergency return of personnel on a Crew Dragon spacecraft, just to have all options available to them.

“With integrated crews on each other’s spacecraft, NASA and Roscosmos work jointly on any decisions related to crew safety including crew transportation. NASA and Roscosmos are continuing to conduct a variety of engineering reviews and are consulting with other international partners about methods for safely bringing the Soyuz crew home for both normal and contingency scenarios. A final decision on the path forward is expected in January,” the blog post reads.

“As a part of the analysis, NASA also reached out to SpaceX about its capability to return additional crew members aboard Dragon if needed in an emergency, although the primary focus is on understanding the post-leak capabilities of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.”

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Whatever decision will be taken, it will happen in the next few weeks.


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spaceSpace and Physics
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  • iss,

  • SpaceX,

  • astronaut,

  • soyuz

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