ISS is leaking air AGAIN – two years after mysterious 'drilled hole' was discovered on board
THREE crew members aboard the International Space Station have been bundled into the Russian segment of the orbiting space lab following the discovery of an air leak.
Nasa's Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin are not said to be in danger but will spend the weekend in the Zvezda service module while searching for the source of the mysterious cabin leak.
It follows a now-infamous incident two years ago in which a hole discovered on the International Space Station (ISS) was found to have been drilled from inside the spacecraft.
Investigators are said to have concluded that the breach was the result of a botched repair job carried out by Russian mechanics on Earth.
In a statement on Thursday, Nasa said it first spotted signs of the newly disclosed air leak in September 2019.
"The station’s atmosphere is maintained at pressure comfortable for the crew members," the space agency said.
"A tiny bit of that air leaks over time, requiring routine repressurisation from nitrogen tanks delivered on cargo resupply missions."
The amount of air escaping each day, however, has "slightly increased", according to Nasa.
It added that the crew would shut the station's hatches this weekend to monitor air pressure and find the source of the leak.
"The teams are working a plan to isolate, identify, and potentially repair the source," the space agency said.
Nasa expects some kind of answer to the issue by the end of next week.
Nasa and Russian space agency Roscosmos stressed that neither the crew nor the space station were believed to be in jeopardy.
The last major air leak on the station was discovered two years ago and sparked a rare public war of words between Nasa and Roscosmos.
A drop in pressure led to the identification of a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule attached to the orbital station overnight on August 30, 2018.
The station crew quickly patched the breach by plugging it with strong glue and gauze.
Initially it was thought the damage could have been caused by a micrometeorite piercing the spacecraft.
But in September 2018 a space source speaking to Russia's official Tass news agency claimed that signs of drilling had been found around the hole.
Russia's space agency head Dmitry Rogozin — a close ally of Vladimir Putin — then raised the possibility of sabotage.
What is the ISS?
Here's what you need to know about the International Space Station…
- The International Space Station, often abbreviated to ISS, is a large space craft that orbits Earth and houses astronauts who go up there to complete scientific missions
- Many countries worked together to build it and they work together to use it
- It is made up of many pieces, which astronauts had to send up individually on rockets and put together from 1998 to 2000
- Ever since the year 2000, people have lived on the ISS
- Nasa uses the station to learn about living and working in space
- It is approximately 250 miles above Earth and orbits around the planet just like a satellite
- Living inside the ISS is said to be like living inside a big house with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym, lots of science labs and a big bay window for viewing Earth
He said the hole was made by a drill, either while the capsule was on Earth or in space, by someone with a "wavering hand".
Nasa then issued a counter statement arguing that ruling out defects “does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent”.
Then-ISS commander Alexander Gerst later confirmed the hole was the result of a faulty repair job that was inadequately performed by mechanics on the ground.
A formal Russian investigation concluded in September 2019 but the results are top-secret, with even Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine expressing frustration at being kept out of the loop.
In other news, Nasa engineer Christina Koch recently took a stunning snap of the transition from day to night from the ISS.
A Nasa timelapse also revealed an astronaut's view as the ISS soars over Earth.
And Nasa plans to send "living human organs" on micro-chips to the ISS as part of a series of medical tests.
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