Monday, January 2, 2023
NASA is reportedly in talks with SpaceX about borrowing a Crew Dragon ship to ferry three people currently on the International Space Station back to Earth.
The Soyuz MS-22 craft docked to the ISS sprung a leak earlier this month, derailing a planned spacewalk and possibly the return trip of two Russian cosmonauts and one US astronaut.
The punctured coolant line on an external radiator of the MS-22 was possibly caused by a micrometeoroid or space debris. NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos are investigating.
"There is no need for emergency evacuation at this time," Roscosmos said on Dec. 19. "The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft is in a mothballed state at the station, and cosmonauts occasionally visit it."
The craft, which carried cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, into space in September, was slated to take the trio back home in March. If it's still out of order by then, Roscosmos intends to launch its Soyuz MS-23 to rescue them. NASA, meanwhile, has a backup backup plan.
"We have asked SpaceX a few questions on their capability to return additional crew members on Dragon if necessary, but that is not our prime focus at this time," an agency spokeswoman tells Reuters(Opens in a new window). It's unclear if NASA asked SpaceX about increasing the crew capacity of the Dragon currently docked to the ISS, or launching an empty capsule for the crew's rescue.
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