Small air leak in Russian capsule patched at space station

August 30, 2018 by Marcia Dunn
Small air leak in Russian capsule patched at space station
In this June 24, 2018 photo released by NASA, the Russian Soyuz MS-09 crew craft, left, and the Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) Cygnus space freighter are attached to the International Space Station. NASA and Russian space officials stressed Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, that the six astronauts are in no danger after a small air leak developed in one, at left, of the two Soyuz capsules docked at the space station. Russian officials say the leak was detected Wednesday night and may be the result of a micrometeorite impact. Both the crew and ground controllers are working hard to isolate the leak. (NASA via AP)

Astronauts scrambled Thursday to patch a tiny hole in a Russian capsule that was allowing air to leak from the International Space Station.

NASA and Russian space officials stressed the six were in no danger.

The leak was detected Wednesday night—possibly from a micrometeorite strike—when it caused a small drop in cabin pressure. It was traced to a hole about 2 millimeters (less than one-tenth of an inch) across in a Soyuz capsule docked at the .

Thursday morning, the crew taped over the hole, slowing the leak. Later, the two Russian spacemen put sealant on a cloth and stuck it over the area, while their colleagues took photos for engineers on the ground. Flight controllers, meanwhile, monitored the cabin pressure while working to come up with a better long-term solution.

Mission Control outside Moscow told the astronauts to let the sealant dry overnight and that more leak checks would be conducted Friday. The makeshift repairs seem to have stabilized the situation, at least for now, officials said.

The leaking Soyuz—one of two up there—arrived at the orbiting lab in June with three astronauts. It's their ride home, too, come December, and also serves as a lifeboat in case of an emergency. A NASA spokesman said it was premature to speculate on whether the three might have to return to Earth early if the leak, even as small as it is, cannot be stopped.

The hole is located in the upper, spherical section of the Soyuz, which does not return to Earth, according to NASA.

The 250-mile-high outpost is home to three Americans, two Russians and one German. Orbital debris is a constant threat, even the tiniest specks.

Explore further: Space station reports 'leak', crew not in danger

Related Stories

Space station reports 'leak', crew not in danger

August 30, 2018

The International Space Station crew on Thursday was repairing a small "leak" most likely caused by a collision with a small meteorite, the head of the Russian space agency said, adding the incident presented no danger.

NASA says Russian space woes no worry

February 2, 2012

(AP) -- NASA says it is still confident with the quality of Russian manned rockets, despite an embarrassing series of glitches and failures in the Russian space program.

Recommended for you

First to red planet will become Martians: Canada astronaut

September 22, 2018

Astronauts traveling through space on the long trip to Mars will not have the usual backup from mission control on Earth and will need to think of themselves as Martians to survive, Canada's most famous spaceman half-jokingly ...

Three NASA missions return first-light data

September 21, 2018

NASA's continued quest to explore our solar system and beyond received a boost of new information this week with three key missions proving not only that they are up and running, but that their science potential is exceptional. ...

Dwarf companion to EPIC 206011496 detected by astronomers

September 20, 2018

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), European astronomers have uncovered the presence of an M-dwarf around the star EPIC 206011496. The newly found object is more than 60 percent less massive than our sun and is bounded ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.