New astronaut capsule launched after leak at space station

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The launch of the Soyuz capsule from Kazakhstan
NOS News

The Russian space agency has successfully launched a Soyuz capsule, which will carry three astronauts back from the International Space Station in September. In December, it turned out that there was a hole in the capsule with which they were supposed to come back to Earth, as a result of which coolant had leaked from the device. Earlier this month, the same thing appeared to have happened to a Russian freighter that was also linked to the ISS.

According to the Russian space authorities, the leak was caused in both cases by the impact of a small meteorite. Both capsules are no longer considered safe to transport people: the loss of coolant can make it unbearably hot for people, and the equipment can melt.

‘Flawless ride’

So far, this capsule is doing well: nine minutes after launch, the device safely entered orbit around the earth – “a flawless ride”, according to a director of the American space agency NASA.

In space travel, Russians and Americans still work closely together, despite the war in Ukraine. NASA executives also attended today’s launch of the latest capsule from Kazakhstan. If all goes well, the capsule will arrive at the ISS on Sunday.

It replaces the old capsule with which the American Frank Rubio and the Russians Sergei Prokopjev and Dmitri Petelin had come to the ISS. In an emergency, they can get away with it.

Due to the replacement of the capsule, the arrival of a new crew has been postponed. Rubio, Prokopjev and Petelin will therefore stay on the space station for a year, instead of the planned six months. Their replacements will not arrive until September.


The damaged cargo ship undocked last weekend and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere, as planned. The damaged Soyuz capsule should be returned to Earth at the end of March, without passengers, so that the damage can be studied by the Russians.

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