Russia is about to launch a flight to the ISS space station to rescue crew members stuck in orbit due to a space accident. The Russian space authorities have confirmed they are launching a vessel to space in February to bring back stuck crew members after a flying meteoroid hit them.
The accident happened last month, as reported by the Guardian, and Russian space authorities have started making plans to bring back those who were affected to earth. It was reported that a small meteoroid smashed into a radiator, leading to coolant being sprayed into space, a Roscosmos official has said.
Sergei Krikalev, a former cosmonaut who is now director of crewed space flight programs at Russia’s space corporation, said that although there is no imminent danger to the crew, they have to act fast to prevent any casualties.
Because of the "mild" accident, the cosmonauts aborted a planned spacewalk that day and will have to wait until reinforcements are sent in. A NASA astronaut was also part of the crew affected in the accident.
"Tonight’s spacewalk has been canceled because of an observed leak of what is believed to be a cooling substance from the Soyuz MS-22," the Nasa commentator Rob Navias said after the accident was reported.
What Happened to the Space Vessel?
According to Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, the accident was minor, but the affected astronauts and cosmonauts might need to return to earth. This means an emergency vessel needs to be sent to the ISS space station to bring the crew back.
When the meteoroid hit the affected space vessel, it leaked it, resulting in higher cabin temperatures deemed unfit for the astronauts.
The affected crew are currently on one operational “escape pod” docked on the ISS – a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, but it has only four seats while the crew is seven.
A planned March launch of the Soyuz MS-23 has been shifted to February to make rescue inconvenienced space personnel quicker. Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and US astronaut Francisco Rubio are the space personnel that will be taken back to earth. This might be one of the few times Russia and the US would be coming together in common interest since the start of the Russian-Ukraine war.
The Rescue Flight Will Arrive Empty
The rescue space vessel, the MS-23, which is supposed to bring back affected space personnel, will arrive empty at the ISS space station in February.
MS-23 was initially planning to take three space personnel to space, but it would have to go empty to allow the affected crew members to return to earth. On the other hand, it has been confirmed that the damaged space vessel will return to earth empty.
The meteoroid that hit the space vessel has been identified as a micrometeoroid. Roscosmos said the affected crew was lucky that the diameter of the micrometeoroid that hit the docked Soyuz was smaller than 1mm. Anything bigger than that would have created a much scary scenario.