Published: Fri, August 31, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Small Air Leak Detected on International Space Station

Small Air Leak Detected on International Space Station

"A micro fracture was found, most likely it is damage from the outside".

Russian officials say the pressure leak was detected Wednesday night and may be the result of a micrometeorite strike.

The leak was discovered at around 7 p.m., (EDT) Wednesday, by flight controllers in Houston and Moscow.

On Thursday morning, an investigation showed the leak appeared to be on the Russian side of the space station. "The leak has been isolated to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment, or upper section, of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft attached to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment", the space agency explained.

However, the amount of air being lost continues to fluctuate, and if the hole is not entirely patched in the next few days, some crewmembers may need to depart the station and return to Earth earlier than planned.

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Crew members usually have to deal with leaks from internal tubing, electrical problems or failures of life support devices, including the space toilet, which experienced a series of malfunctions in 2008. "Once the patching is complete, additional leak checks will be performed". The Russians wanted to do a permanent fix immediately and NASA wanted to formulate a temporary fix until a safe plan for a permanent fix can be worked out.

Drew Feustel, the current commander, and Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor, all from the U.S. All six astronauts joined in the hunt, closing off individual modules within the station to better locate the source.

Both American and Russian mission controllers, as well as all six astronauts, are still attempting to permanently seal the leak.

The space station, which has been continuously occupied since November 2000, has an internal pressurized volume equal that of a Boeing 747, according to NASA.

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