International Space Station backup circuit: Roscosmos is searching for answers after a coolant leak occurred in a module of the International Space Station, adding to the mechanical problems the space agency has been dealing with in low Earth orbit for the past year. A coolant leak has affected the radiator circuit of the Nauka module, which is located in the Russian-controlled part of the International Space Station, Roscosmos said in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging site on Monday.
According to NASA, the Nauka module was added to the ISS in July 2021, but the leak occurred in an external spare radiator that was delivered to the ISS during the spacecraft’s mission in 2010. “The main thermal control circuit of the module is functioning normally and providing comfortable conditions in the living area of the module,” the translated version of the report said. “The crew and the space station are not in danger.”
On Monday afternoon, NASA said that officials at the Houston space agency “observed flakes coming from one of the two radiators of the Nauka module” at wait. “The flight control team notified the space station crew of the possible leak, and NASA astronaut Yasmin Moghbeli confirmed the presence of flakes on the skylight, after which the crew was asked to close the blinds on some windows in the United States as a precaution to prevent contamination, according to the latest news from NASA.
NASA reiterated that the main radiator is functioning normally and that the crew of the International Space Station is not in danger, and ground teams will continue to evaluate the issue. It is unclear what caused the leak.
“External influences” and spatial issues.
Roscosmos has spent nearly a year trying to recover its crew transport missions after one of its Soyuz spacecraft suffered a serious coolant leak during docking with the space station in late 2022. The vehicle carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petrin, into international space in September 2022.
NASA later reviewed the investigation by Russian officials and concluded that the spacecraft may have been struck by a small object and caused the leak. “The NASA team also studied it independently of the Russian team, and based on the information from the Russian colleagues, we couldn’t find anything either, except for some kind of external force or dirt or something like that,” NASA’s International Space Station project manager Joel Montalbano said at a press conference in July.
Waste in circulation is a growing problem. In recent years, the amount of uncontrolled debris in Earth’s orbit has increased exponentially, fueled in part by collisions between previously orbiting objects and anti-satellite weapons tests.
Roscosmos determined that a coolant leak in the Soyuz spacecraft made the spacecraft unsafe and decided to launch a replacement capsule to bring the astronauts home. Then, on February 11, Roscosmos reported another coolant leak that delayed the launch of a backup spacecraft — this time on the Russian Progress craft used to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
Roscosmos said at the time that the Progress leak may also have been caused by “external influences”.
The Soyuz replacement finally launched to the International Space Station in late February. The craft returned Rubio, Prokopiev and Petrin safely to Earth on September 27.