Russian cosmonauts have detected another leak in the International Space Station – and suspect there may be a second – months after they just patched a hole.
The head of the Russian segment of the ISS Vladimir Solovyov told a Russian TV news channel that orbiting platform's residents right now need a microscope to find the suspected leaks. “So far, we have found one place and suspect another, where as some kind of leak exists,” he said in a translation provided by TASS, a state-owned news agency, on Friday.
Solovyov, an ex-astronaut, said it was nothing to worry about, and that the dip in air pressure inside the floating space lab was minute.
"This leak is like as if you’d drill the hull with a 0.2 mm diameter drill," he said. "I’m not sure such drills even exist in [a] household. As for the leak it causes, the air pressure is 750 mmHg, and this alleged crack causes us to lose 0.3 to 0.4 mmHg every day." It only becomes dangerous when the rate of pressure loss is 0.5 to 1 mmHg per minute, he added.
“We are working on it, of course ... The station is indeed not airtight, we understand that there could be some other leaks, but there is no horror in that. I can say it as the mission head," he continued.
Solovyov described the leak as being in the hull of the station though did not specify which part of it exactly. Last year, the crew faced similar issues when it was unable to find the source of another air leak for months.
Although that hole was discovered in 2019, astronauts paid it no mind for a while as they focused on other more pressing tasks. But in August 2020, the air pressure had dropped at a faster rate, and the crew decided to go looking for the leak. It wasn’t spotted and patched until October, however. ®