A planned space mission by Russian space agency Roscosmos has been halted following the discovery of a coolant leak from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft currently docked at the International Space Station.
NASA’s Rob Navias, speaking on a NASA television broadcast, called it a “very significant” leak. Live images during the broadcast showed fluid leaking from the Soyuz. Navias said the spill occurred around 7:45 pm on Wednesday.
The Soyuz spacecraft is docked in the Russian section of the space station.
The crew is safe, and all systems of the space station and ship are operating normally, Roscosmos said in a Russian-language statement on Twitter Thursday morning. (Translated by CNN report.)
“The crew reported that the warning device of the ship’s diagnostic system malfunctioned, indicating a decrease in pressure in the cooling system,” according to Roscosmos. “A visual inspection confirmed the leak, after which the decision was made to disrupt additional vehicle operations planned by ISS Russian Wing crew members Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Betlin.”
Navias said the cause of the coolant leak is unknown and the outcome is unknown at this point as Russian managers continue to review the data and consult with NASA managers and engineers as well as outside experts. He said the astronauts inside the space station were “not in any danger”.
Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikhina used a camera on Russia’s Nauka module on the space station to “photograph and film the outer surface of the spacecraft,” according to Roscosmos. “The data has been sent back to Earth, and experts have already begun analyzing the images.”
“No decision has been made regarding the integrity of Soyuz MS-22 or what the next step is,” Navias added, closing NASA-TV coverage of the canceled space mission.
Roscosmos said the situation will be analyzed before a decision is made on what comes next.
NASA took a similar tone Thursday’s report: “NASA and Roscosmos will continue to work together to determine the next course of action following the current analysis.”
Soyuz MS-22 carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts to the space station on September 21 and is scheduled to bring them back to Earth in late March.