The two cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have to work as do-it-yourselfers these days to seal a tiny leak. The ISS has been leaking a little more air than expected for over a year. As early as October 2020, the crew plugged a 4.5 centimeter long opening, but could not completely solve the problem.
It is now clear that there is a second leak on the ISS in the Russian module “Zvezda”. The leak is 22 millimeters long but only 100 micrometers wide. So it was hard to find. The space travelers were only able to localize the jump with eddy current tests and a microscope. The cosmonauts will now work on its edges with a three-millimeter drill. This reduces the risk that the jump will continue to grow.
Signs of aging
Then they apply several layers of sealing paste and a kind of plaster. Finally, tests follow to confirm the tightness. The metal splinters that occur during drilling are sent to earth at the next opportunity to be analyzed in detail there. That was what the Russian space company said last week Communicated to Roscosmos.
The cracks are considered to be signs of age. Parts of the ISS are around 30 years old, but were only built for 15 years of use. There is no need to panic. The pressure drop due to the jump is measurable, but minimal.