For the first time in 18 years, the International Space Station (ISS) faced the risk of no astronaut working on the station, following the incident in early October with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft. , causing the flight to astronauts to be canceled. So, what is the ISS if no one else is here?
The last astronauts are about to return to Earth
In November 2000, a spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian astronauts arrived at the ISS. Since then, ISS is considered the home of astronauts.
Over the years, many astronauts have arrived and left the ISS after completing scientific research missions and international cooperation. They carry many different nationalities, first Russian and American, followed by Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and other countries. This is where researchers and researchers conduct important experiments in zero gravity.
One thing that has not changed over the past 18 years is that there is always people living on the ISS. Whenever astronauts return to Earth, another person is present and connected to the station. However, to date, ISS is facing the risk of being abandoned.
On Oct. 10, the missile launcher Soyuz MS-10 carried a group of astronauts including a Russian (Aleksey Ovchinin) and a leading test flight of the US Aerospace Agency (NASA) (Nick Hague), had a problem right after departure for a few minutes.
When a combination of rocket launchers and spacecraft prepares to leave the atmosphere, the shuttle’s computer system detects abnormalities in the missile’s jets. The ship automatically switches to the mission cancellation process and opens the self propelled engine, separated from the rocket.
The two astronauts escaped death after the incident. An investigation into the cause of the incident was quickly conducted. This is the first time in 35 years, the Soyuz manned spaceflight has failed during the rocket launch.
Officials from both countries confirmed that all flights to the International Space Station would be postponed until the results of the investigation were clear. There are currently three active astronauts on the ISS: Sergey Prokopyev (Russia), Serena Aunon-Chancellor (USA) and Alexander Gerst (Germany).
The scientists and astronauts have been on the ISS since June and plan to return to Earth in December, after the Soyuz expires in space.
The two Hague and Ovchinin astronauts are expected to be there to continue their work, but the recent incident raises a disturbing question: What if the three astronauts had to be But there is no investigation conclusion and no crew on the ISS anymore?
Kjell Lindgren, a NASA astronaut who worked on the ISS in 2015, said that no one ever lived on the international space station, which has never happened in the past. This is a completely new thing.
The human presence on the ISS is necessary
It is important to note that the International Space Station does not require the presence of a crew to operate, but the ground control center can also operate the station for a certain period of time.
In the event of a real need, Russia could also move its cargo ships and more advanced equipment to the ISS, burning propulsion to keep it in the normal trajectory.
The Russian Federation Space Agency (Roscosmos) has recently concluded the cause of the incident on 11/10. Accordingly, the bug comes from the propeller engine and this is completely overcome in the next launch.
Roscosmos has also planned for the crew’s next flight, scheduled for Dec. 3, just 10 days before the three astronauts were living on the station returning to Earth.
If this launch is successful, the International Space Station will not face abandonment. But before the Russian side completes the investigation, NASA is preparing for the possibility of ISS being uninhabited.
The US Space Agency has a backup plan that guides the astronauts to the mission of returning to Earth but still ensures that the system on the station works well, performs backups, and so on. Make sure the ground control team operates the station until someone continues to the ISS.
But it is NASA that does not accurately determine the length of time that the International Space Station can operate without the crew present. Although it is possible to operate the station from Earth, the presence of the crew is irreplaceable.
Astronauts conduct repairs inside and outside the station, conducting regular system checks. More than anyone, they know what is going on around them, especially in emergencies, the astronauts can handle the incidents in time.