NASA is looking into the possibility of a new SpaceX requirement to improve the protection of Crew Dragon capsule. This comes after something caused damage to the cooling system on the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft that docked to the International Space Station in December. NASA representatives announced this at a press conference on January 25.
The Soyuz was almost destroyed by a coolant leak after the impact of a micrometeoroid on it. It is still with the ISS in case of an emergency evacuation of astronauts from Earth. Until then, another ship will be able to replace it. Roskosmos will send another Soyuz back to Earth on February 20, it is understood. This Soyuz will be used to transport the injured spacecraft’s crew to Earth. She will return to Earth in September, six more months later than expected.
Discussions regarding the SpaceX ship are at an early stage – the idea of strengthening the protective coating of the capsule was only announced on January 24 during a regular meeting at NASA. The next SpaceX mission will be to the ISS on February 26th, it is known. SpaceX spokesperson already stated that they are confident the company will align their activities with NASA’s goals. According to representatives from business, the Dragon-class Endurance vessel that docked at the ISS has been in perfect condition so far.
Roscosmos states that the Soyuz MS-22 is capable of accommodating two to three persons in an emergency evacuation from ISS. This means that the trip to Earth won’t require a cooler. This can have unpredictable consequences. Frank Rubio (a Soyuz astronaut) was transferred to Endurance with the chair-bed. This will, it is thought, increase Frank Rubio’s survival chances. He and his fellow astronauts will descend together in the wrecked ship.
NASA meticulously analyzed the Endurance’s technical capabilities before authorizing Rubio to be transferred to it. This class ships can transport up to seven people. There were only four seats in the version that docked to ISS. The organization of the fifth place required technical and organizational measures. This is only a backup option – if everything goes on as usual, you won’t have to resort to the help of SpaceX and Rubio will still go to Earth along with the Russian cosmonauts with whom he arrived at the station.
The station will continue to dock the damaged Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft even after it arrives at the ISS. He is expected to return to Earth in September 2023, but without a crew.