Three Russian Cosmonauts spent Sunday relaxing and watching the World Cup finale on the International Space Station as the smart people who put them there figured out how to get them down. The station’s remote robot arm will take photos of the coolant leak that will likely make their Soyuz capsule unuseable for the trip back to earth. It’s likely a launch being prepped at the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan will be expedited to pick them up if the leak, which might have been caused by a meteorite, can’t be fixed. In the meantime there’s no immediate danger.
The leak, which was first detected on Dec. 14, was traced back to the spacecraft’s external radiator cooling loop. According to NASA, controllers successfully completed a test of the MS-22’s thrusters on Friday, finding that all systems tested were optimal. “At the moment, all systems of the ISS and the ship are operating normally, the crew is safe,” Roscosmos said in a statement (trans.). “After analyzing the situation, a decision will be made on the further actions of both specialists on Earth and members of the crew of the ISS Russian Segment.”
The temperature inside the capsule has been lowered but is still within limits, the Russians said. The MS-22 launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in on Sept. 21 with NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin onboard.