NASA is considering using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule as a possible transportation vehicle for some members of the International Space Station (ISS) crew. The plan follows an incident in which a Russian Soyuz capsule suffered a coolant leak earlier this month while docked at the space station.
NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos are investigating the cause of a punctured radiator line in the external radiator of the MS-22 Soyuz spacecraft currently docked at the space station. The Soyuz MS-22 capsule is scheduled to return its crew of two astronauts and one American astronaut to Earth early next year.
During the accident, which emerged on December 14, a vital fluid used to regulate crew cabin temperatures aboard the Soyuz spacecraft leaked. Engineers in Moscow are currently evaluating the possibility Another Soyuz capsule is launched To recover the three-man team aboard MS-22.
In the event that Russia is unable to launch another Soyuz spacecraft or determines that doing so would be too risky, NASA is considering other options. One possibility currently being evaluated is using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon as a backup option for the damaged Soyuz crew, according to a report from NASA. Reuters.
“We’ve asked SpaceX some questions about its ability to bring additional crew members back aboard Dragon if needed, but that’s not our primary focus at this time,” NASA spokeswoman Sandra Jones said.
While NASA is considering using SpaceX as a possible backup option for the Soyuz crew, it is not yet clear what specific capabilities NASA has requested. Dragon crew. This includes whether SpaceX can increase the capacity of the Crew Dragon already docked at the International Space Station Or if launching an empty capsule for a rescue mission would be a better option.
The Soyuz capsule, which suffered a leak during its mission, was carrying American astronaut Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin. The crew traveled to space in September and is expected to return to Earth in March 2023.
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