the NASA Is analyzed whether the spacecraft SpaceX Dragon May provide a replacement for some members of the International Space Station after a Russian capsule The presence of a coolant leak during berthing at the orbital laboratory.
NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos are investigating the cause of a line puncture in the external cooler aboard Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, which is set to return its team of two astronauts and an American astronaut to Earth early next year.
But the December 14 leak, which emptied the Soyuz of a vital fluid used to regulate crew cabin temperatures, halted the Russian space station’s procedures, as engineers in Moscow checked whether to launch another Soyuz to retrieve the crew. ISS aboard MS-22 Craft.
If Russia is unable to launch another Soyuz capsule or if it decides not to do so for some reason, because doing so would be too risky, NASA is evaluating another option. “We have asked SpaceX some questions about their ability to return additional crew members aboard Dragon if needed, but that is not our primary focus at this time,” NASA spokeswoman Sandra Jones said in a statement. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.
It wasn’t clear what NASA asked specifically about the capabilities of the SpaceX Dragon team, such as whether the company could find a way to increase crew capacity on the Dragon currently docked at the station or launch an empty capsule to rescue the crew.
But the company’s possible participation in a Russian-led mission underscores the degree of precautions NASA is taking to ensure astronauts return safely to Earth, should one of Russia’s other contingency plans pass.
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