If this sounds familiar, it’s because a Russian spacecraft docked with the International Space Station has sprung a leak.
On Saturday morning, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency announced on Telegram that a Progress cargo ship docked with the International Space Station (ISS) had lost cabin pressure. NASA later explained that the depressurization was caused by a coolant leak.
“The reason for the loss of coolant in the Progress 82 spacecraft is being investigated,” NASA announced.
“The hatches between Progress 82 and the station are open, and temperatures and pressures aboard the station are all normal. The crew, which was informed of the cooling loop leak, is in no danger and continuing with normal space station operations.”
Progress 82 arrived at the ISS on October 28th, according to Space.com. The spacecraft was scheduled to leave the station on February 17th prior to Saturday’s announcement.
It is unclear whether Roscosmos will adhere to the original timeline. Because Russia’s Progress spacecraft are designed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere after completing their resupply missions, Roscosmos will be unable to investigate the leak on the ground.
The discovery occurred on the same day that a second Progress spacecraft docked with the ISS, and less than two months after another Russian spacecraft leaked at the space station.
Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft began leaking coolant in December, just as cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev were about to embark on a nearly seven-hour spacewalk.
Roscosmos later attributed the incident to a meteoroid strike. Roscosmos has deemed the ISS unfit to transport humans unless there is an emergency.
Later this month, the agency will launch another Soyuz craft to return Petelin and Prokopyev, as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, to Earth.
According to Eric Berger of Ars Technica, the Progress incident raises questions about whether the Soyuz MS-22 was actually hit by a micrometeorite.
Russia never released images of the impact, and the country’s space programme has a long history of problems. In 2021, for example, Roscosmos blamed a software bug on the Nauka misfiring, which temporarily shifted the ISS’s orientation.