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ISS. The Soyuz MS-22 capsule returned to Earth. Coolant leaked out of it for several months

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The damaged Russian Soyuz MS-22 capsule landed back to Earth on Tuesday, March 28. Coolant leaked out of it for three months.

After a nearly two-hour flight from the ISS, the unmanned Soyuz MS-22 capsule touched down on Tuesday afternoon in the Kazakh steppe, several hundred kilometers from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, home of Russia’s space launches. The landing was broadcast online by the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Roskosmos reported that the capsule returned with a payload weighing 218 kilograms, including the results of scientific experiments and equipment from the station.

International Space Station (ISS)Maciej ZieliƄski, Adam Ziemienowicz/PAP

International Space Station

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In December last year, a large coolant leak was discovered in the capsule. The defect was caused by a 0.8 mm hole in the outer skin. A tiny meteoroid likely pierced the structure while docking, experts say.

Images captured from outside the ISS showed coolant gushing into space. According to information provided by Roskosmos, the temperature inside the capsule at some point rose to 30 degrees Celsius.

The leak prompted Roskosmos and the US space agency NASA to reschedule and postpone spacewalks. Russia sent a spare capsule – MS-23 – to the ISS last month and decided to bring the damaged uncrewed MS-22 back to Earth. Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut who were due to return to Earth in March will now stay on the ISS until September.

Russia has announced that it will abandon the ISS in the future and launch its own independent space station, although plans for how and when remain under discussion.

International Space Station (ISS)Shutterstock

Main photo source: Reuters



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