The two ISS crew members aboard the Soyuz MS-10 are doing well after crash landing earlier this week – but those currently living on the space station are facing an uncertain departure date while the space capsule is grounded.
In a communication with Moscow State University (MSU) on Sunday, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev – who is currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) – recalled Thursday’s emergency.
“We watched the rocket coming out of the atmosphere. There was smoke from the rocket on the dark background of space. Then there was a separation of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. After that, we saw just one point without a plume of smoke. It was a spacecraft with our guys,” he explained.
While he addressed the fact that important cargo and scientific equipment was not able to be delivered to the station, he noted that the most important thing is that his two colleagues aboard the Soyuz – Nick Hague of NASA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin – are safe.
“As they say, the equipment can be made again but life can not be returned,” he said.
But Prokopyev, along with the other two crew members currently aboard the ISS – Serena Auñón-Chancellor (US) and Alexander Gerst (Germany) – are now facing uncertainty. Depending on the results of a probe designed to look into the Thursday incident, the crew could potentially be left stranded on the ISS beyond their planned December departure.
Luckily, according to the flight director of the Russian segment of the ISS, there are enough supplies on board to last the current three-member crew until summertime.
“There are enough reserves on the ISS which provide the living environment. We estimate the reserves are sufficient for half a year, till the summer of next year,” Vladimir Solovyov told RIA Novosti.
However, as it currently stands, and barring any major revelations found by the probe, the Russian Space Agency plans to go ahead with the next manned flight in December. It could potentially take place a couple days earlier, on November 28, Interfax cited a source as saying on Saturday.
As the probe gets underway into what exactly happened with Thursday’s Soyuz launch which was meant to deliver Hague and Ovchinin to the ISS, the space capsule’s emergency system is being praised, as it did exactly what it was supposed to do and performed “like a Swiss watch.”
“There was an emergency situation with the booster. But the emergency system to save the crew performed great – so the main thing was to get these people back to earth unharmed, and this is what happened,” Aleksandr Lazutkin, who traveled to the Soviet Union’s Mir space station, told RT.
Prokopyev agreed, stating during the communication with MSU that the Soyuz’s rescue system has “proven its reliability.”