Soyuz leaks raise the possibility of a lengthier stay for astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS). The Russian-built Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft was carrying three people before experiencing a significant coolant leak last year. These people were cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev as well as Frank Rubio, a NASA astronaut. This leak was most likely brought on by a micrometeoroid strike. Roscosmos made the decision that it would be risky for the crew to return to Earth in that vehicle. Rather they intended to launch a brand-new spacecraft in its place. The launch of the replacement spacecraft, however, has been postponed. This is due to the discovery of a coolant leak on a second Russian spaceship, a cargo ship known as Progress 82.
In order to ascertain whether the leaks are connected and to determine the origin of the coolant loss on both spacecraft, NASA and Roscosmos are currently cooperating. Originally slated for flight on February 19, the replacement spacecraft will now go off in March. Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin may need to stay on the station for a year. This is because it is still unknown when the replacement ship will be transported to the International Space Station (ISS). This is a key departure from the usual six-month cycle for ISS crew members. It is also unknown how the crew’s physical and mental health will be impacted by the prolonged stay.
The crew is still conducting regular space station activities and scientific research. This is according to NASA officials, who are comforting the public despite the uncertainties. In order to help Roscosmos examine the coolant leaks, NASA is also working with them to gather imagery. The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft is going to now act as a rescue vessel for the crew that became trapped. Therefore, the launch of the following crew, which was initially scheduled for March, has also been postponed until September. Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin are willing to remain until the scheduled launch in September. However, they are also willing to go early if the launch date is moved up.
Long-term space travel is not unheard of, although it can have detrimental effects on one’s health. Long-term space travelers run the risk of having visual issues, bone degeneration, muscle atrophy, and radiation exposure. The crew may experience mental health problems as a result of their prolonged separation from their family and loved ones.
NASA and Roscosmos are concerned about the Soyuz leaks because they cast doubt on the spacecraft’s dependability and safety. Both organizations are striving to find out what is causing the leaks. In addition, they intend to make sure the crew is safe on the new ship. As NASA and Roscosmos collaborate to safeguard the safety of the ISS crew, the incident also emphasizes the value of international cooperation in space exploration.