On Monday, a secondary radiator on a module of a Russian space station experienced a leak. This is the third time within the past year that a Russian component has had a loss of coolant for heat dissipation. The effect of this incident on station operations is currently unknown, but officials have stated that the crew is not in any immediate danger.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos announced on Telegram that a leak happened in the backup “radiator circuit” intended to cool experimental equipment in the Nauka multi-purpose laboratory module, also known as MLM.
According to a translation from Google Translate, the Russians reported that the primary thermal control system of the module is functioning without issue and maintaining comfortable living conditions. They also stated that both the crew and the station are not at risk.
In February, the new Soyuz spacecraft was launched and the astronauts’ time on the space station was prolonged by six months, setting a U.S. record of 371 days. Rubio and his fellow crew members were part of this mission.
Successfully landed back on Earth. on Sept. 27.
The potential cause of the Soyuz leak appears to be a collision with a micrometeoroid. In an incredibly improbable event, a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft was also involved.
experienced a comparable leak in February.
The unmanned Progress spacecraft are specifically designed to disintegrate upon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, making it impossible to retrieve any equipment for analysis. Similarly, in the Soyuz spacecraft, only the central module returns to Earth and in this particular instance, it returned without any crew members on board. The malfunctioning plumbing was located in the portion of the spacecraft that is discarded before re-entry.
Although it is highly unlikely, there is no other explanation for two micrometeoroids hitting similar systems on similar spacecraft.
The leak that occurred on Monday did not affect any systems crucial to the flight. However, NASA is taking precautions to ensure that it is completely contained before the scheduled spacewalk on Thursday, which will be conducted by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen.
There is a potential health risk if coolant particles become attached to a spacesuit and are brought inside the station.