The rear section of the 20-year-old Zvezda service module is the location of a slight air leak aboard the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos
Russian cosmonauts are still working to plug a slight air leak aboard the International Space Station, which was first noticed in 2019 and located in 2020.
NASA and Roscosmos continue to emphasize there is no risk to the seven-person crew and the pressure drop due to the leak is far below emergency values.
During the last half of 2020, astronauts and cosmonauts worked to find the source of the leak by systematically closing hatches throughout the outpost to look for pressure differences between sections. Ultimately it was determined to be coming from the rear compartment of the 20-year-old Zvezda service module.
Called the “transfer chamber,” it’s a small cylindrical tunnel that connects the rear docking port to the main “work compartment.” The leak is coming from several microcracks about the width of a human hair and as long as 22 millimeters that have formed in the chamber.
Two cracks were initially found using an electron microscope at the end of 2020. They were permanently sealed by Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov in March with ...