One of the spacecraft docked to the International Space Station has sprung a leak. The leak itself doesn’t affect the ISS, but it could cause some issues for the spacecraft on its return to Earth. The good news, though, is that this leak shouldn’t cause any issues for the ISS proper, and operations should continue as normal.
The leak aboard the ISS was spotted during a NASA webcast as two of the cosmonauts prepared to complete a spacewalk that would have them moving a radiator from one module to another on the Russian portion of the station. After spotting a stream of snowflake-like particles near the back of the Soyuz MS-22 capsule, the spacewalk was called off to be safe.
Unfortunately, the origin or cause of the leak on the spacecraft attached to the ISS isn’t completely clear just yet, but it was first spotted around 7:45 p.m. EST. The spacecraft arrived at the ISS back in September, delivering two cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut to the station. This spacewalk was also planned for November, but was canceled previously due to faulty cooling pumps in the cosmonauts’ suits.
This spacewalk would have been the 12th of the year, as well as the 257th completed spacewalk since the International Space Station was completed over 22 years ago. With NASA’s plans to deorbit the ISS in the 2030s, maintenance is key to keeping everything running smoothly. Hopefully, we’ll see this spacewalk rescheduled soon to complete any needed work, barring any serious issues with the leak on the ISS.
Luckily, this leak isn’t onboard the main portion of the ISS itself. However, it is disheartening to see it affecting a spacecraft intended to carry people back down to Earth. Hopefully, engineers aboard the station can figure out what is causing the leak, as well as put a stop to it before it becomes a large issue overall.
NASA just recently reinstated spacewalks on the ISS, so it is disappointing to see issues popping up that continue to hold astronauts back from completing these important events.