The Russian cargo ship Progress MS-21 has recognized a Refrigerant leak during your connection to the International Space Station. Is he second in two monthswithout forgetting the failure of the Soyuz a few years ago, which was about to cause the death of two astronautsone of them American.
For a decade Russia has led the aerospace industry, being the only one that could bring and carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), including the Americans.
This changed when SpaceX managed to get its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit with a crew. And since then the failures in the Soyuz and other Russian cargo ships, have been frequent.
A long list of problems with Russian spacecraft
The most serious incident occurred in 2018, when a failure in the Soyuz engines prevented the rocket from leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, causing an emergency landing that endangered the lives of the two astronauts carrying to the International Space Station.
In another incident very similar to this week, a hole was detected in the Russian area of the International Space Station. The Russians came to talk about sabotagealthough finally the official cause was a micrometeorite.
Last December, Russia sent a soyuz ship for bring back 3 astronauts, one of them North American, this month of March. But again, the ship suffered a coolant problem, which raised the temperature of the ship to dangerous levels to return home with the crew.
And finally this week, the Russian cargo ship Progress MS-21 have experienced the same problem: a coolant leakas Phys explains. Luckily, all the cargo had already been unloaded on the ISS, and since it was not going to transport astronauts, it will be filled with garbage from the Station and will disintegrate in the atmosphere.
More problematic is the soyuz failure from December. You’re not going to be able to transport the astronauts in March, so Roscosmos (Russian space agency) is going to send another ship on February 20 in case they have to use it as an emergency escape ship.
But this ship will not carry a crew, so the astronauts can’t get back on it, because there is no one to replace them. They will have to wait until late summer or fallfor Roscosmos to have another capsule ready.
Elon Musk has offered to bring astronauts home with a SpaceX rocket. We doubt that Russia will accept, considering that Musk finances the Starlink satellites that Ukraine uses to communicate after the Russian invasion.
Nevertheless. the relationship between the Russian and US space agencies is good. They collaborate on many projects, and the United States is helping with analysis of the incidents. And as we have said, the American astronaut Frank Rubio was going to return home in the Russian Soyuz. Political problems on Earth stay on Earth…
However, the continua Russian spacecraft incidents show that the fleet is getting old. And with the military spending from the Ukrainian invasion and the European trade ban, Russia is not in a position to invest money in the space race.