International Space Station: Cosmonauts struggle with leak – air escapes

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Where is the hole? The crew of the International Space Station has been searching for months for the cause of a pressure loss – air reserves are running low. Now a drastic solution is being discussed.

In the Russian part of the International Space Station ISS, cosmonauts are struggling with air supply problems because of a leak.

The space travelers must now find the leak, because the oxygen reserves are getting smaller and smaller, reported the state agency Tass after a switch between the ISS and the control center in Moscow. It was not clear exactly where the leak was located in a transition to the “Zvezda” (Russian for star) module, an expert on Earth said. The problem with air leakage and pressure drop in the module has existed since August. Time is running out, and the problem must be solved, the flight control center was told.

“Everything is under control,” Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said Saturday. “There are still reserves,” he appeased. He also said a new “Progress” space freighter carrying oxygen supplies will fly into space in February. Should it be necessary to supply the ISS with additional oxygen beyond that, U.S. partners at Nasa could deliver oxygen using their own unmanned transporter.

Back in October, the crew believed they had found the crack in a transition section of the “Zvezda” module. At the time, the spacewalkers had inserted a tea bag that moved toward the leak in zero gravity. The opening, about 4.5 centimeters long, was plugged. But the cause of the leak was unclear. It later turned out that air continued to leak out. An external mission in space in November did not bring any more clarity either.

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