NASA discusses with SpaceX options to rescue its crew on the International Space Station

NASA has inquired about using the SpaceX Dragon capsule to bring astronauts home from the International Space Station (ISS) after a recent leak aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, where the MS-22 Soyuz spacecraft suffered a major coolant leak while docked at the International Space Station prior to Planned Russian spacewalk.

According to Space, while the Soyuz does not pose any direct danger to the space station or its crew, it is still not known whether the Soyuz is airworthy; As such, the MS-22 crew no longer had a viable lifeboat in case of an emergency.

NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos are conducting a review of available options, which included asking SpaceX about using one of its Dragon capsules as a replacement for Soyuz MS-22, in an effort to secure a replacement lifeboat for Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio.

NASA has also reached out to SpaceX about its ability to return additional crew members aboard Dragon if needed in an emergency, though the primary focus is understanding the post-spill capabilities of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.

A NASA blog post revealed that the agency is, in fact, considering using the spacecraft SpaceX Dragon As a lifeboat for the International Space Station.

“We have asked SpaceX some questions regarding its 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.

Another option is for Roscosmos to send a replacement Soyuz, but the closest mission to launch would be in February, according to statements made by Sergey Krikalev, head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow, during a NASA press conference.

It is one of the potential drawbacks to using SpaceX vehicle as a lifeboat are the spacesuits worn by the MS-22 crew; SpaceX capsules were designed to work in conjunction with custom-designed SpaceX spacesuits, while the MS-22 crew launched to the International Space Station wearing Russian Sokol spacesuits.

SpaceX has yet to comment on the possibility of sending a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station to replace Soyuz MS-22.


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