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Spare Soyuz Will Be Launched To Bring Home Stranded Astronaut And Cosmonauts

The faulty Soyuz will be sent home empty.

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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 on Oct. 8, 2022, 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 leaky Soyuz attached to the ISS. Image credit: NASA

The Russian space agency, Roscomos, has confirmed that the Soyuz MS-22 will have to leave the International Space Station empty following the leak to its coolant. 

The leak happened last December 14, possibly caused by a micrometeorite hitting it just right. A review was initiated to work out if it was still safe for cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, to travel back down to Earth with it in April. And, it turns out it isn’t.

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So the plan to get the stranded space travelers home is to shift the scheduling of the Soyuz missions. A Soyuz capsule that was expected to bring cargo in March and go back down with material from the International Space Station will now be launched empty, to be used by the three men to come back down. This Soyuz is expected to launch on February 20 in automatic mode. This change also means that the mission of the three will be extended, although it's currently unclear by how much.

Now that this plan B has come into effect, NASA's Plan C to have SpaceX send a Crew Dragon Spacecraft won’t be necessary. Operations on the space station continue as usual; the Soyuz leak was an unfortunate incident, but it did not and will not put any of the onboard crew in danger.

NASA will host a media teleconference at 9 am EST Wednesday, January 11 to discuss more details about this plan.


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spaceSpace and Physics
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  • international space station,

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  • Roscosmos,

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  • soyuz,

  • cosmonauts,

  • Soyuz spacecraft

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