Cosmonauts, the crew currently on board the ISS, are now intensifying their search for the leak in the facility of the Russian Zvezda module.

The International Space Station has been experiencing leaks. The leakage could contribute to numerous potential spacecraft problems.

Cosmonauts, the crew currently on board the ISS, are now intensifying their search for the leak in the facility of the Russian Zvezda module.

The leak concerns the Russian portion of the ISS, with the fault most likely situated in the module’s entry section. But as mentioned by the Russian media, the exact position is not yet clear.

Sergei Krikalev, Roscosmos Program Chief, said they had some leaks for quite some time but the incidence was quite tiny and that no eventuality happened from the same. He continued that they noticed one of the leaks and had it minimized but it still exists.

The same happened last August. By using plasticine issued by their counterparts from the United States, the Russian cosmonauts patched the previous crack but the substance didn’t repair the hole fully.

Series of Leaks

Last October, another potential source of leak which triggered decompression in the intermediate chamber of the module was discovered. With the aid of a floating tea bag, a 4.5-centimeter (1.7-inch) tear was exposed and sealed.

In the same portion of the 20-year-old spaceship, the cosmonauts discovered another leak from elsewhere.

During a spacewalk in November though, they struggled to locate the another leak. The cosmonauts explored the option of utilizing oxygen supplies and sealing off the impacted section, but they were afraid that that the same would have an effect on the ISS’ overall activity.

A tiny volume of air has been escaping from the ISS at a rate of 0.6 pounds of air every day since September 2019. By August 2020, though, the issue had risen five-fold, with the rate of loss rising to 3.1 pounds a day.

Orbital Outpost Oxygen Leak

Cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov said on Tuesday that the ISS crew could not immediately detect an air leak on board the orbital outpost.

A specialist from the Russian Mission Control Center said they can’t do much about the problem and they requested the cosmonauts to accelerate the search for the cause of the leak.

The crew, however, continued looking for the leak. This involved shutting hatches, along with an ultrasonic leak detector, to separate the leak. The position of the leak was eventually narrowed down to somewhere near the location of the station’s Russian crew quarters.

Since the ISS is now nearly out of reserve oxygen to cover for the leak, the problem must be fixed as quickly as possible.

Everything Under Control

But Roscosmos also said that the seven people on board the ISS, which consists of four Americans, two Russians and a Japanese astronaut, are not at risk.

Agency head Dmitry Rogozin told the public that oxygen supplies were on board and that oxygen will be included in a planned distribution of cargo in February.

Rogozin said the station itself has supplies of oxygen. He clarified that if oxygen and nitrogen are to be replenished in the case of a lack of air pressure, they have those supplies.

In February, they are also going to send a container ship to the ISS, he said.

If possible, Rogozin said they might take advantage of their NASA partnership and give part of the freight, including oxygen, to an American cargo ship. He guaranteed that everyone was well and that everything was under control in spite of the leaks.

Originally published at Science Times