TechNASA Investigates Intensifying Air Leak in ISS's Russian Module

NASA Investigates Intensifying Air Leak in ISS's Russian Module

International Space Station
International Space Station
Images source: © NASA

2:40 PM EST, March 1, 2024

NASA is currently investigating an air leak in the Russian module of the International Space Station (ISS) that has recently worsened, according to Space News. The leak now results in a loss of approximately 2 pounds of oxygen per day. Nevertheless, NASA assures that the leak does not pose a threat to the safety of the crew or the integrity of the ISS.

The problem of air leakage in the ISS has been ongoing. Joel Montalbano, NASA's ISS program manager, revealed on Wednesday, February 28, during a briefing about the upcoming Crew-8 mission, that the leak in the Russian Zvezda module had doubled in size. This development occurred roughly a week before the scheduled February 13 launch of the Progress MS-26 supply vessel.

Despite the situation, Montalbano confirmed that the leak "does not affect the safety of the crew or the operation of the station," and highlighted NASA's collaboration with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, in addressing this issue. He further reassured that the leak would not compromise the Crew-8 mission, the eighth operational flight of the Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS under the Commercial Crew Program, set for March 1.

ISS encounters issues with the Russian module

Problems with the Russian module of the ISS aren't new. Notably, in October 2023, the Nauka module of the station's Russian segment experienced a coolant leak from an external cooling circuit. Additionally, in December 2022, coolant began leaking into space from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, just before a scheduled Russian spacewalk.

The partnership between NASA and Roscosmos on the International Space Station stands as one of the remaining areas of collaboration between the two space agencies, as reported by Science Alert. While NASA plans to continue operating the aging ISS until 2030, Russia, which initially announced its withdrawal from the ISS by 2024, aims to establish its own space station, likely to share similarities with Tiangong, China's space station.

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