A meteorite could have caused an air leak on the ISS

An air leak was again recorded on the International Space Station, and the problem forced to make adjustments to the life of the international crew.

“To search for its source, it is planned to isolate the modules of the American segment of the station in the near future by closing the hatches between them,” a source told RIA Novosti.

According to him, this situation does not threaten the safety of the station and the crew.
According to TASS, the air leak was detected by instruments on the Russian segment of the ISS. Later, information about the leak was confirmed by the press service of the state corporation Roscosmos. According to the ISS Russian Segment Main Operational Control Group, on Friday, the crew members of the station will go to the Zvezda module in order to organize pressure control in the American segment modules.

“This procedure is reflected in the onboard documentation and is a joint decision of the control groups of the American and Russian segments of the International Space Station. During the stay (three days) on the Russian segment, the crew is scheduled to carry out regular work, “- noted in Roskosmos.

“Experts preliminarily believe that one of the possible reasons for the air leak detected on the ISS may be the penetration of the station’s body by a micrometeorite or a micro fragment of space debris”.

Now the Russian-American ISS crew is working to localize the place of the air leak from the station. “A micro leak of the station’s atmosphere was detected on the ISS. Work is underway to localize it. The specialists plan to sequentially shut off the station modules in order to determine where exactly the pressure drops”, the source said.

He clarified that “the air leak was recorded by the instruments of the Russian segment of the station by changing the proportion of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide content in the station’s atmosphere”.

In 2004, a leak was detected in the US segment of the ISS. After a long search, the astronauts discovered that she was coming out of the hose on the porthole of the Destiny module.

The situation with the next leak resembles the scandalous situation with the discovery of a hole on the ISS exactly two years ago. The hole in the skin of the Soyuz-MS-09 spacecraft was discovered by the ISS crew back on August 30, 2018. On that day, MCC on Earth noticed that there was a slow air leak on the ISS.

Soon the cause of the leak was localized – it turned out to be a man-made hole about two millimeters in diameter in the skin of the Russian Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The cosmonauts soon sealed the hole with a special sealant, but the question quickly arose about its origin – during September 2018, this problem was discussed in the media at the level of the most important events.

The commission created by Roskosmos found it unlikely that there was a production defect or negligence in assembling the ship on the ground. As Dmitry Rogozin said at the time, the commission is considering a terrestrial version of the origin of the hole, but does not discount the space one either – he did not rule out that someone drilled a hole already in orbit, from inside the space station, after the spacecraft docked to it.

Since the participation of Russian cosmonauts in this was excluded, suspicion fell on the American part of the crew.

In December 2018, Russian cosmonauts especially went into outer space and examined the hole from the outside. It was a very difficult operation since they had to work in a place not equipped for spacewalks. Having removed the protection, the astronauts saw a hole, sealed with some black substance, similar to a sealant.



A year after the incident, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin figured out how to get rid of annoying questions about the causes of the strange hole. According to him, the specialists of the state corporation have found out the reason for the violation of the integrity of the casing, but they will not tell the society anything.

“It [the hole] was in the utility compartment [of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft], it burned down long ago during the descent of the ship. We took all the samples. We understand what happened, but we won’t tell you anything,” Rogozin said on meeting with the participants of the V All-Russian Scientific and Practical Conference “Orbit of Youth”.
“There must be some kind of secret with us,” explained the head of Roscosmos.

From the very beginning, the story with the hole was actively followed in the West, primarily in NASA, since the ISS is a joint project, and security issues concern all its participants. Therefore, another important question is whether Roscosmos informed the American side of the results of the investigation. After Rogozin’s statement, “Gazeta.Ru” addressed this question to NASA and received the following answer: “NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to rule out the emergence of similar questions in the future. More specific questions should be addressed to Roscosmos”.

“They did not tell me anything,” the head of NASA replied to the journalist of the Houston Chronicle, stressing that he would not like to spoil relations with the Russians and promising to talk about the problem directly with Rogozin.

“I would not want one problem to interfere with them (the relationship), but undoubtedly, holes in the International Space Station are unacceptable”, he added.

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