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Tuesday, 20 October 2020 7.56 PM IST

Astronauts pinpoint source of ‘non-standard’ air leak on ISS, exact location still unknown

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MOSCOW: After months of searching and testing, the International Space Station crew has detected the source of the air leak. Exhibition 63 crew, NASA astronaut and Commander Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, have found that the leak is situated in the Zvezda service module and determined it to be “beyond expected levels.”

The US space agency said in a 29 September update that ground analysis was carried out of all the modules to isolate the source of the leak, which appeared to grow in size. Now the leak has been tracked back to the main work area of the Russian Zvezda Service Module.

"Additional work is underway to precisely locate the source of the leak," the update added.

The agency has maintained its stance that the leak is not a cause for caution as it “poses no immediate danger to the crew at the current leak rate” and that it has led to “a slight deviation to the crew’s schedule” only. However, the leak has caused a “temporary temperature change” aboard the station. According to a statement released by Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS, accessed through UK-based technology news aggregator Phys.org, the leak is substantial enough for extra air to be pumped in. Sergei Krikalyov, the executive director of Russia’s manned space programmes, said that the leaks are predictable and added that if the leakage lasts for a long time, it will require supplies of extra air to the station.

The leak was first discovered in August and the crew had moved into the Russian module to get the in the American, European and Japanese modules in the US segment of the station checked.

After the detection of the source, the hatches between Zvezda’s aft and forward sections and Zvezda’s passageways to different compartments and modules were opened again and the crew resumed their routine.

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TAGS: ASTRONAUTS, ISS, BEYOND EXPECTED LEVELS, SOURCE OF THE LEAK, RUSSIAN MODULE, ROSCOSMOS, ZVEZDA’
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