Russia delays launch to space station while leak is probed

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MOSCOW — Russia will postpone the launch of an empty area capsule to the Worldwide Area Station pending additional investigation of a coolant leak on a provide ship docked to the station, the second such leak at a docked Russian craft in two months, the top of Russia’s area company Roscosmos stated Monday.

The Soyuz capsule was to be launched in automated mode on Feb. 20 and dock with the orbiting outpost two days later, to function a lifeboat for crew evacuation in case of an emergency. Roscosmos director Yuri Borisov stated the launch will delayed, at most till early March.

A Soyuz capsule that may accommodate an astronaut capsule and was already docked to the station developed a coolant leak in December.

Russians Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio had been imagined to return to Earth in March in that capsule, however Russian area officers stated increased temperatures from the coolant leak might make that harmful.

Then one other coolant leak was detected Saturday in a docked provide ship. The leak was detected after a second provide ship docked with the area station.

Borisov stated the unmanned Soyuz launch can be delayed “till we be sure that and get to the location of a attainable breakdown.”

As a result of the brand new Soyuz can be launched in automated mode, a substitute crew will now have to attend till late summer time or fall when one other capsule is prepared. Meaning Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio should keep a number of further months on the station, probably pushing their mission to shut to a 12 months.

Apart from Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, the area station is dwelling to NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada; Russian Anna Kikina; and Japan’s Koichi Wakata. The 4 rode up on a SpaceX capsule final October.

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