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An uncrewed Russian spacecraft docked at the space station loses pressure

The Russian Progress MS-21 cargo craft is pictured on Oct. 28, 2022, shortly after docking at the International Space Station. On Saturday, the Russian space corporation said the spacecraft lost cabin pressure.
NASA
The Russian Progress MS-21 cargo craft is pictured on Oct. 28, 2022, shortly after docking at the International Space Station. On Saturday, the Russian space corporation said the spacecraft lost cabin pressure.

Updated February 11, 2023 at 2:47 PM ET

An uncrewed Russian spacecraft docked at the International Space Station has lost pressure, but the incident does not pose a danger to the station's crew, the Russian space corporation said on Saturday.

Engineers at the Russian Mission Control Center near Moscow first identified depressurization inside the Progress MS-21 cargo ship's coolant loop, Roscosmos said. The hatches between the spacecraft and the station were temporarily closed to prevent further loss of pressure.

As of Saturday afternoon, the hatches were re-opened and the temperatures and pressures abroad the station are all normal, according to NASA. The U.S. space agency added that the station crew continues its normal operations and no other issues have been identified.

The unpiloted cargo spacecraft, which is filled with trash, was scheduled to undock from the space station to deorbit over the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 17, NASA said. All the waste scheduled for removal had already been loaded onto the spaceship prior to Saturday's incident.

NASA said its specialists are working with their Russian counterparts to investigate the cause for the unexpected depressurization. Roscosmos added that the incident should not affect the station's future flight program.

The announcement came shortly after a new Russian cargo ship docked at the station on Saturday, the Associated Press reported. The Progress MS-22 delivered nearly three tons of food, water and fuel along with scientific equipment.

In December, a planned spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts was abruptly called off after ground teams noticed a leak from a different Soyuz spacecraft docked at the space station. The coolant leak was later blamed on a meteoroid strike.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: February 11, 2023 at 10:00 PM MST
A previous version of this story said the depressurization occurred in the spacecraft's cabin. In fact, the depressurization was detected in the craft's coolant loop.
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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.