Controllers Evaluating Soyuz After Successful Thruster Test

The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is pictured docked to the Rassvet module. In the background, the Prichal docking module is attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is pictured docked to the Rassvet module. In the background, the Prichal docking module is attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

NASA and Roscosmos continue to evaluate an external leak that occurred Dec. 14, from the Roscosmos Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module of the International Space Station. Roscosmos has identified the source of the leak as the external cooling loop of the Soyuz.

As part of the ongoing evaluation and investigation, Roscosmos flight controllers conducted a successful test of the Soyuz MS-22 thrusters at 3:08 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 16. The systems that were tested were nominal, and Roscosmos assessments of additional Soyuz systems continue. Temperatures and humidity within the Soyuz spacecraft, which remains docked to the Rassvet module, are within acceptable limits.

NASA is supporting the ongoing investigation with the use of the Canadarm2 robotic arm to provide additional viewing of the Soyuz exterior on Sunday, Dec. 18. To accommodate this change in plans, NASA has determined a new target date for the upcoming U.S. spacewalk to install an International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), which was originally scheduled for Monday, Dec. 19. The spacewalk will take place Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin into space after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 21.

The leak was first detected around 7:45 p.m. EST Dec. 14, when data pressure sensors in the cooling loop showed low readings. At that time, Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were preparing to conduct a spacewalk. The spacewalk was cancelled, so the cosmonauts did not exit the space station or become exposed to the leaking coolant. From data analysis and cameras aboard the space station, the majority of fluid had leaked out by yesterday, Dec. 15, around 1:30 p.m. EST.

More updates will be provided as data becomes available.

On station the Expedition 68 crew members set up a variety of advanced research gear to capture high definition video of Earth and house biology samples for observation.

Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio reviewed spacewalk robotics activities with Flight Engineers Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Cassada and Wakata also had time on Friday morning configuring hardware supporting advanced space science experiments. Cassada assembled the SphereCam-1, a digital ultra-high resolution video camera, inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. He pointed the camera outside Destiny’s science window, or Window Observation Research Facility, and filmed Earth demonstrating its ability to capture the highest resolution, groundbreaking 12K views from a spacecraft. Wakata activated the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) inside the Kibo laboratory module that will house scientific samples for future space biology research. The CBEF is an incubator that supports a variety of life science observing cells, plants, and small mammals.

Prokopyev and Petelin cleaned their Orlan spacesuits and stowed their spacewalking tools following the postponement of Wednesday night’s spacewalk.

Flight Engineer Anna Kikina also worked on post-spacewalk activities returning the station’s Russian segment to normal and checking radiation sensors worn on the Orlan suits. Kikina wrapped up her day treating surfaces inside the Zarya module with an anti-fungal agent to maintain cleanliness and health aboard the station.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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