On 15 December 2022 at 12:45 UTC, a "visible stream of flakes" was observed emanating from the Soyuz spacecraft, concurrent with a loss of pressure in the external radiator cooling loop. The leak in the radiator occurred due to a micro-meteorite impact. The damage left a 0.8 mm diameter hole into the external cooling radiator on the service module. The “Soyuz MS-22” spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth with Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio on March 28. Until then, the spacecraft serves as the emergency lifeboat for the three-man crew that launched aboard it in September 2022. If Russian officials determine the “Soyuz MS-22” spacecraft is unable to bring the crew home, a replacement “Soyuz” could be launched from Baikonur without anyone on-board to automatically dock with the station. But it’s unclear when the next “Soyuz” in line (Soyuz MS-23) could be ready for launch. It is currently scheduled to be launched on March 16 with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and US astronaut Loral O’Hara to begin a six-month expedition.
There are currently seven crew members on board the International Space Station. A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft (Crew-5 mission) is also docked to the U.S. segment of the Station after arriving on October 6 with US astronauts Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.