Space station activities are moving forward amidst the Soyuz mix

WASHINGTON — It is just about enterprise as regular on the Worldwide Area Station as NASA adjusts its present actions and future plans to Russia’s choice to switch a broken Soyuz spacecraft docked there.

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata will conduct a spacewalk Jan. 20 to put in a mounting bracket for a brand new photo voltaic array that might be delivered to the station on a future cargo mission. The spacewalk, the primary by any astronaut, is scheduled to final from six and a half to seven hours.

The spacewalk is an indication that actions on the area station are persevering with largely unaffected by harm to the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that docked there on Dec. 14 that Roscosmos and NASA have attributed to a micrometeor hit. The accident broken the spacecraft’s radiator and triggered a coolant leak.

The 2 businesses introduced Jan. 11 that they’d concluded the spacecraft couldn’t safely return to Earth, with its three-man crew consisting of Roscosmos astronauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio. As an alternative, a brand new Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz MS-23, might be despatched to the station uncrewed to switch Soyuz MS-22, which is able to return to Earth, additionally uncrewed.

On January 18, astronauts transferred a custom-fitted Rubio seat liner from Soyuz MS-22 to the Crew Dragon spacecraft docked on the station. Within the occasion of an emergency requiring crew evacuation, Rubio would return aboard Crew Dragon whereas Prokopyev and Petelin departed on Soyuz MS-22.

“We predict that can take a few of the warmth load off the Soyuz spacecraft and can assist us with the general state of affairs,” Dina Kontella, operations integration supervisor for the Worldwide Area Station Program at NASA, mentioned throughout a Jan. 17 briefing concerning the upcoming spacewalk. .

Transferring Rubio’s seat to Crew Dragon is simply a short lived measure. After the Soyuz MS-23 arrives on the station, its seat liner, together with the Prokopyev and Petelin seats, might be transferred to the Soyuz MS-23. Soyuz MS-23 is scheduled to launch on February 20, docking with the station two days later.

The launch of Soyuz MS-23 will barely delay the launch of Crew-6 Crew Dragon. In a press convention on Jan. 11, NASA mentioned it is going to take as much as two weeks to revise the schedule for each that mission and different flights to the station within the close to future. Contella mentioned on the spacewalk briefing that Crew-6 was scheduled to launch in mid-to-late February, with Crew-5 Crew Dragon returning just a few days later.

The Crew-6 mission consists of astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates. The Mohammed bin Rashid Area Heart within the United Arab Emirates introduced on January 19 that the Crew-6 mission was scheduled to launch no later than February 26, a couple of week later than beforehand deliberate.

Kontella mentioned Crew-6 might be adopted by the Dragon cargo mission, CRS-27, in March. It will in flip be adopted by a Cygnus cargo spacecraft, NG-19, although it didn’t say when it could launch. NG-19 would be the final Cygnus spacecraft to be launched on the present model of the Antares rocket as Northrop Grumman is working with Firefly Aerospace on a brand new first stage of the automobile.

The choice to switch Soyuz MS-22 with Soyuz MS-23 implies that Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will prolong their keep on the Worldwide Area Station. The three have been initially scheduled to return to Earth in March, however will keep for as much as six extra months. Kontella mentioned they may seemingly return in late September, a couple of yr after they arrived. “We’re wanting on the precise timing of that, however at this level, that might be when the automobile is deliberate to go dwelling.”

The Soyuz coolant leak occurred whereas Prokopyev and Petlin have been making ready for the spacewalk, which was canceled consequently and has not but been rescheduled. “Our Russian colleagues are engaged on their future plans for spacewalks at this level,” she mentioned.

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