Astronauts Isolate As Mystery Air Leak Hunt Continues On International Space Station
Fri, 09/25/2020 – 23:20
NASA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos are searching for a small air leak on the International Space Station (ISS), according to Sputnik.
The crew of the ISS will move to the Russian side of the station on Friday, and through the weekend, to allow for a couple of days of air pressure tests. This will be the second time astronauts have isolated in an attempt to find the leak.
“Over the coming weekend, the ISS crew will self-isolate in the Russian segment of the station to search for an atmospheric leak at the station. The crew will regularly perform all planned operations, nothing threatens the crew’s safety,” a representative Roscosmos told Sputnik.
US astronaut Christopher Cassidy tweeted that the ISS crew would “try again with the module isolation this weekend. No harm or risk to us as the crew, but it is important to find the leak we are not wasting valuable air.” The crew took similar precautions in August, when they isolated on the Russian side of the station for four days.
Cassidy provided more color on the situation via a series of tweets. He said, “Moscow and Houston Mission Control Centers have been tracking a tiny air leak for several months.” For the last week, Cassidy has been examining all the window seals of the station using an ultrasonic leak detector.
NASA has said the leak was first detected on Sept. 2019 but has worsened in recent months.
As the ISS crew works over the weekend to find the source of the leak, readers may recall, in 2018, the station experienced another air leak that was initially thought to be the result of a micrometeorite. It was eventually concluded the tiny hole that created a dangerous air leak was a “deliberate sabotage.”