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Soyuz spacecraft leaking helium
Posted: Wed, Apr 28, 2004, 7:58 PM ET (2358 GMT)
Soyuz TMA-2 docked to ISS (NASA) The Soyuz spacecraft that will return three astronauts from the International Space Station later this week is leaking a small amount of helium, but officials said the leak does not pose a major problem. The helium, used to pressurize the spacecraft's propellant tanks, is leaking at a small rate from the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft. That spacecraft, which has been docked to the station for six months, will undock late Thursday and carry the Expedition 8 crew of Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri, as well as visiting astronaut Andre Kuipers, to Earth. Officials said Wednesday that the Soyuz has more than enough helium on board despite the small leak. The RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russian officials who did say that the leak could cause the spacecraft so slightly deviate from its course during the time leading up to the deorbit burn.
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