Soyuz is attached to the International Space Station. The leak forced two Russian cosmonauts to cancel their planned spacewalk at the last minute last night.
Somewhat dramatic images from NASA show coolant leaking from the spacecraft. Watch it here:
The spacewalk was canceled as a precaution, but the US space agency stressed that everyone aboard the ISS was “safe”. In the meantime, the consequences for the Russian spacecraft have been studied on Earth.
Former cosmonaut Sergey Krikalyov, now the head of Russia’s space program, told state news agency TASS that the leak was likely caused by small meteorites. They could have been as small as grains of sand.
The consequence of the damage is that the temperature on board may change, according to Krikalyov. NASA says the temperature in the Russian spacecraft is still within limits, without going into further details.
The leak discovered immediately raises the question of whether the Russian spacecraft will be able to bring the crew of three back to Earth in March next year, as planned. If that fails, NASA and Roscosmos have contingency plans ready. Despite the war in Ukraine, Russia and America still cooperate in space.