A Small Pressure Leak On The International Space Station

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A Small Pressure Leak On The International Space Station

The International Space Station crew on Thursday was repairing a small “leak” most likely caused by a collision with a small meteorite, the head of the Russian space agency said, adding the incident presented no danger.

“Overnight and in the morning there was an abnormal situation—a pressure drop, an oxygen leak at the station,” Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

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“A microfracture was found, most likely it is damage from the outside. The design engineers believe it is the result of a micrometeorite,” he said.

After a morning of investigations, the crew reported that the leak was 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 of the station.

Flight controllers at their respective Mission Control centers in Houston and Moscow worked together with the crew to effect a repair option in which Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos used epoxy on a gauze wipe to plug the hole identified as the leak source.

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As the teams were discussing options, flight controllers in Moscow performed a partial increase of the station’s atmosphere using the ISS Progress 70 cargo ship’s oxygen supply. Flight controllers in Houston are continuing to monitor station’s cabin pressure in the wake of the repair.

Meanwhile, Roscosmos has convened a commission to conduct further analysis of the possible cause of the leak.

Throughout the day, the crew was never in any danger and was told no further action was contemplated for the remainder of the day. Flight controllers will monitor the pressure trends overnight.

All station systems are stable and the crew is planning to return to its regular schedule of work on Friday.

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