“We plan to move Frank Rubio’s chair from the Soyuz spacecraft to the Dragon, and we believe this will reduce the heat load on the Soyuz spacecraft and help in general,” NASA spokeswoman Dina Contella was quoted as saying by RIA. Novosti. The ability to return to Earth with a crew of five instead of four, for which the Crew Dragon is equipped, is an alternative option should an emergency evacuation be necessary.
Earlier, Roscosmos reported that the state corporation and space agencies of partner countries in the International Space Station project had taken measures to ensure the safe return of the station crew to Earth in the event of an accident before arrival. of the Soyuz MS- 23 unmanned spacecraft.
Due to an emergency situation with the Soyuz MS-22 manned spacecraft, its crew – Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio – will return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-23, which will it is supposed to dock with the ISS in unmanned mode on February 22.
It is highlighted that the ISS systems and the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft are operating normally. However, in the event of an accident, the crew will need an emergency evacuation to Earth before the Soyuz MS-23 arrives. Therefore, it was decided to temporarily transfer Rubio’s accommodation from the Soyuz MS-22 to the Crew Dragon spacecraft (the work will be carried out on January 17-18). If an emergency evacuation is necessary, the American astronaut will return to Earth in the Crew Dragon and the Russian cosmonauts in the Soyuz MS-22. The descent of two astronauts instead of three will be safer, since it will help to reduce the temperature and humidity in the Soyuz MS-22.
After Soyuz MS-23 arrives at the ISS, the accommodations of the three cosmonauts, including Francisco Rubio, will be transferred to it.
Let’s remember: it all happened on December 15, 2022 in preparation for the planned Russian spacewalk. The crew registered a pressure drop in the Soyuz MS-22 external thermal control system. It was he who delivered Prokopiev, Petelin and Rubio to the ISS in September. A visual inspection of the ship from the station confirmed a refrigerant leak, so the departure was cancelled. Investigations have confirmed that the radiator of the thermal control system damaged the sporadic meteoroid.
The American Crew Dragon was designed to carry a crew of seven, but in its current configuration it is equipped with seating for four. An additional fifth seat can be installed in the ship’s cargo hold.