NASA finally tracks air leakage on ISS, but it is not yet decided


A small but pesky air leak occurs in the ISS.

NASA

A long-term space mystery is almost solved. NASA and ISS crew have been troubled by an air leak for the first time in late 2019. The leak was picking up speed recently, sending NASA on a hunt to track it down. A new round of trials has finally reduced the location.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Roskosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivineshin and Ivan Wagner have conducted several tests involving closed hatchers around the station so that NASA can monitor air pressure in each section. His latest efforts took NASA to the core function of the Zweda Service Module.

The Russian-built Zvezda service module includes living quarters with life support, communications and propulsion systems. “Additional work is underway to locate the source of the leak,” NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The space agency insisted that there was no immediate threat to the crew from the leak.

Flight controllers awoke astronauts and cosmonauts late Monday night to see the leak “increasing in size.” The crew used an ultrasound leak detector to collect data for analysis.

The leak may be more consistent than it first appears. “Since the size of the leak identified overnight has been attributed to a temporary temperature change at the station, the overall rate of leakage remains unchanged,” NASA said.

The crew is back in regular activities, including preparing for a busy October at the ISS. The station will expect a new cargo delivery as well as a new crew of astronauts and Cosmonauts. SpaceX is also set to launch First operational crew dragon mission for ISS In late October.

Separating the leakage of a particular service module is a major step. Once the exact location is found, NASA can look into repair options and perhaps end a long, leaky saga.

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