HomeAstronomy & SpaceSpace crew using robotic arm to inspect damaged capsule

Space crew using robotic arm to inspect damaged capsule

The International Space Station crew was inspecting an attached Russian space capsule. The capsule may have been damaged by a micrometeorite. The ground controllers debated whether to send up a replacement spaceship to ferry some of them home.

Roscosmos is Russia’s space agency. It said the crew was using a camera mounted on a Canadian-built robotic arm to capture images of the Soyuz MS-22. There a coolant leak was discovered last Wednesday night. The images are transmitted to the ground on Monday. Space officials will analyse them, along with other data about the problem. They will determine the next steps.

One option is to speed up the delivery of another Soyuz capsule to the space station. Workers at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome are preparing to launch Soyuz MS-23 to the space station with three crew members next March. But it could be launched sooner without a crew. This would allow some of the seven astronauts currently aboard the space station to return home.

A Russian space official also speculated that the leak could have been caused by a micrometeorite. The damage was to the outer skin of an instrument and equipment compartment.

Both Roscosmos and NASA claim that the problem does not endanger the crew. A pair of Russian cosmonauts cancelled a planned spacewalk due to the leak. An American spacewalk is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The thrusters on the Soyuz capsule were tested and found to be operational last Friday.

The leak, according to Sergei Krikalev, a veteran cosmonaut and director of Roscosmos’ crewed space flight programmes, could affect the performance of the capsule’s coolant system. It can also affect the temperature in the capsule’s equipment section. The temperature of the capsule had risen, according to Russia’s Ria-Novosti news agency. But ground controllers were able to return it to normal levels. The agency did not specify how the temperature was lowered.

Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin prepared to leave the station on a spacewalk. Ground specialists observed a stream of fluid and particles, as well as a pressure drop on instruments.

The capsule was used by Prokopyev, Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to arrive at the International Space Station on September 21. It serves as a lifeboat for the crew. The capsule was due to return to Earth in March with some of the space station’s crew as part of regular rotations.

In addition to Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio, four other crew members are currently on the space station. They are NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos.


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