Controllers evaluate Soyuz after successful thruster test – space station

The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is shown docked with the Rassvet module.  In the background, the Prichal docking module is attached to the Nauka multi-purpose laboratory module.
The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is shown docked with the Rassvet module. In the background, the Prichal docking module is attached to the Nauka multi-purpose laboratory module.

NASA and Roscosmos continue to evaluate an external leak that occurred on December 14 from the Roscosmos Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station’s Rassvet module. Roscosmos has identified the source of the leak as the Soyuz external cooling circuit.

As part of the ongoing assessment and investigation, Roscosmos air traffic controllers conducted a successful test of the Soyuz MS-22’s engines on Friday, December 16 at 3:08 am EST. The systems tested were nominal and Roscosmos continued to evaluate other Soyuz systems. Temperatures and humidity inside the Soyuz spacecraft, which remains docked with the Rassvet module, are within acceptable limits.

NASA is supporting the ongoing investigation by deploying the Canadarm2 robotic arm to provide an additional view of the Soyuz exterior on Sunday, December 18. To accommodate this change in plans, NASA has set a new target date for the upcoming U.S. spacewalk to install an International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), originally scheduled for Monday, December 19th. The spacewalk takes place on Wednesday, December 21st.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 21.

The leak was first spotted around 7:45 p.m. EST on December 14 when the data pressure sensors in the cooling circuit showed low readings. At that time, Roskosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were preparing for a spacewalk. The spacewalk was canceled so the cosmonauts would not leave the space station or be exposed to the leaking coolant. According to data analysis and cameras aboard the space station, the bulk of the liquid had leaked out by around 1:30 p.m. EST yesterday, December 15.

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Further updates will be provided as data becomes available.

At the station, Expedition 68 crew members set up a variety of advanced research equipment to capture high-resolution video of soil 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 Friday morning to configure hardware that supports advanced space science experiments. Cassada assembled the SphereCam-1, an ultra-high definition digital video camera, inside Destiny’s US lab module. He pointed the camera from Destiny’s science window, the 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) within the Kibo Laboratory Module, which will house scientific samples for future space biology research. The CBEF is an incubator that supports a variety of life science observations of cells, plants, and small mammals.

Prokopyev and Petelin cleaned their Orlan spacesuits and stowed their spacewalk gear after Wednesday night’s spacewalk was postponed.

Flight Engineer Anna Kikina also worked on post-spacewalk activities to bring the station’s Russian segment back to normal and to check the radiation sensors worn on the Orlan suits. Kikina ended her day treating surfaces in the Zarya module with an antifungal to maintain cleanliness and health aboard the station.


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

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