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Leaking Soyuz to return empty; Unmanned Soyuz to be launched to replace it

The Russians announced today the plan to deal with the leaking Soyuz capsule on ISS as well as provide transportation back to Earth for its three astronauts.

First, the damaged Soyuz will return empty to Earth. Second, the next Soyuz will be launched in February unmanned so that it can bring back all three astronauts. Their mission however will likely be extended. Instead of returning in March as planned, they will stay in orbit until September, when that capsule was originally going to return to Earth. If this happens, it means their flight will end up being about a full year long. For the American in that crew, Frank Rubio, this could mean he will set a new American record for the longest spaceflight.

The Russians also added these details about the puncture in the Soyuz, which is believed to have been caused by a meteor:

According to calculations, a hole in the instrument compartment of the spacecraft, observed with a camera of the American ISS Segment, could be caused by a one-millimeter particle striking the vehicle with a speed of around 7,000 meters per second. Borisov also said that a possibility of a manufacturing defect in the radiator system of Soyuz MS-22 had also been evaluated but had not been confirmed.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Ray Van Dune

    Borisov said that the damage was consistent with a 1mm particle moving at 7 km/sec, as if that obviated any orbital debris explanation. Does it?

  • M Puckett

    Ahem! Anyone remember that Russian ASAT test a few months ago?

  • Thomas Wilson

    Nice to see that Russian “warranty” in action . . . ;-)

    “Ah yes Mr. Putin. Your monthly payment on the capsule with its related launch costs is ₽ 1,000,000,000 However with our extended warranty plan, which covers leaks, malfunctions, assembly errors in workmanship but not material quality defects of course etc. etc. your payment would be ₽ . . . .”

  • pzatchok

    Fill it with garbage and send it back. Unless they are afraid that there is a significant hole in the passenger compartment.

    It would not be nice if the garbage bags inflated under 0 pressure.

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