NASA still unsure about cause of 'above average' air leak on the International Space Station

NASA insists there is harm posed by the leak to the three astronauts at the ISS, and that the leak needs to be plugged to stop valuable air from going to waste.


A month after scientists were confined to a single module of the International Space Station to detect the location of an above-average air leak, NASA is still clueless as to the exact location of the leak.

The news came after the American and Russian astronauts aboard the ISS spent a second weekend confined to a single module recently. This was done to detect the portion of the station that was leaking some air into space. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner remained inside the Zvezda module in the Russian segment of the station from the evening of 25 September until the morning of 28 September.

 NASA still unsure about cause of above average air leak on the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy running checks on one of the space station's modules. Image Credit: Twitter/@Astro_SEAL

Chris Cassidy tweeted that the hatches between other modules of the station were all closed during this time to identify which module has the leak.

In a series of tweets, Cassidy explained that the exercise failed to pinpoint any probable location. He also said that they have been checking all of the window seals for any indication of a leak using an ultrasonic leak detector.

He insisted that there was no possibility of harm for the three astronauts but it was necessary to detect the leak in order to stop valuable air from going to waste.

After the isolation was over, Greg Dorth, manager of the ISS Program External Integration Office at NASA, said in a news briefing that the team had failed to find a “clear indication of where the leak is”.

Dorth was briefing about the upcoming Northrop Grumman NG-14 Cygnus cargo mission to the station, which is going to be launched on 1 October from Virginia and arrive at the station on 4th October. Discovered first a year ago, scientists need to locate the leak fast, preferably before the cargo vehicle arrives there as the task will be easier on a relatively peaceful space station.


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