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Uncrewed Russian spacecraft that leaked lands safely

A Russian Soyuz MS-22 capsule has landed back on earth, three months after coolant began leaking from it while it was docked at the International Space Station.

March 29, 2023
29 March 2023

A defective Russian space capsule from the International Space Station has returned to earth with no crew on board.

The Soyuz MS-22 undocked from the ISS on Tuesday and was to make an “automated, parachute-assisted landing” less than two hours later about 147 kilometres southeast of the city of Jezkazgan in Kazakhstan, US space agency NASA said.

The Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS broadcast the landing live online.

While there were no cosmonauts or astronauts on board, the capsule was carrying scientific equipment and results of scientific research conducted on the space outpost. 

This included a battery for a space suit as well as experiments on growing mushroom cultures and producing probiotic drinks.

Due to its sensitive cargo, the capsule had to be brought down gently using a parachute. 

Just before it hit the ground, motors started to regulate the speed.

A helicopter was also on site for recovery.

The capsule is now set to be examined.

The return to earth of Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin as well as NASA’s Frank Rubio on MS-22 was deemed too risky after leaking liquid from the capsule’s cooling system was discovered a few months ago. 

The leak was likely caused by a micrometeorite.

The plan is now for the three men, who had travelled to the ISS on September 15 onboard the MS-22, to fly back later this year on replacement spacecraft MS-23, which docked at the space station in February.

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