ISS astronauts fix air leak

Image credit: Dreamstime

The International Space Station’s (ISS) cabin pressure is holding steady after the crew conducted repair work on an air leak.

Yesterday, Nasa officials reported a hole “about two millimetres in diameter” had caused a small loss in cabin pressure on the Russian side of the ISS.

In response, the crew temporarily isolated the gap with heat-resistant tape, and followed this later with a permanent fix on one of the two Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the complex.

“Flight controllers at their respective Mission Control centres 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,” said Nasa officials.

The leak, detected on Wednesday night by flight controllers while the Expedition 26 crew were sound asleep, could be the result of a micrometeorite strike, according to Russian officials.

Officials have also stated the six astronauts, working in the most recent Soyuz capsule, were never in any danger throughout the duration of the mend.

Flight controllers have monitored pressure trends overnight, and the crew are scheduled to return to work on Friday.

Last June, Norwegian researchers – on behalf of the European Space Agency – announced plans to research the possibility of using long, thin robots to carry out inspection and maintenance works on the ISS. If tests are proven successful, this could help astronauts resolve and fix issues such as those demonstrated on Wednesday.

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