A planned spacewalk by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has been canceled after a coolant leak was discovered originating from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft currently docked with the International Space Station.
NASA’s Rob Navias called it a “fairly significant” leak in a speech on the NASA TV show. Live images during the broadcast showed liquid spurting out of the Soyuz. Navias said the leak was first spotted around 7:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The Soyuz spacecraft is docked with the Russian segment of the space station.
The crew is safe and all space station and ship systems are functioning normally, Roscosmos said in a statement in Russian published on Twitter Thursday morning. (CNN translated the statement.)
“The crew reported that the ship’s diagnostic system warning device had activated, indicating a drop in pressure in the cooling system,” Roscosmos said. “Visual inspection confirmed the leak, after which it was decided to halt planned activities outside the vehicle by Russian ISS segment crew members Sergey Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin.”
Navias said the cause of the coolant leak is “unknown and the impact unknown at this time as Russian managers continue to review the data and consult with both NASA managers and engineers” and with outside experts. He said the astronauts in the space station are “never in danger”.
Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina used the camera on Russia’s Nauka module on the space station to “photograph and film the outer surface of the ship,” according to Roscosmos. “The data has been transmitted to Earth and the specialists have already begun examining the images.”
“No decisions have been made regarding the integrity of the Soyuz MS-22 or the next course of action,” Navias added, ending NASA TV coverage of the canceled spacewalk.
Roscosmos added that the situation is being analyzed before a decision is made on what comes next.
NASA struck a similar tone in a statement Thursday: “NASA and Roscosmos will continue to work together to determine the next course of action following ongoing analysis.”
The Soyuz MS-22 carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts to the space station on September 21 and is scheduled to return them to Earth in late March.