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First air leak crack on ISS has not grown

A inspection of the first air leak crack that had been found and patched in the Zvezda module on ISS last year has found that it apparently not increased in size since then.

The size of a crack in the intermediate chamber of the Russian Zvezda module aboard the International Space Station (ISS) remains unchanged, cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov reported to Russia’s Flight Control Center on Wednesday. “It [the length] has not changed. As in the previous measurements, I do not see any changes,” Ryzhikov said during his talks with Mission Control broadcast on NASA’s website.

On February 23, the cosmonaut carried out work with a microscope to trace another possible air leak. The photos of the work were transmitted to Earth and the video from GoPro cameras will be sent via the Russian broadband communications system. After completing the work, the cosmonaut reinstalled the patch in the area of the crack.

This Russian report is decidedly unclear about some details. Though it appears the astronaut was using the microscope to inspect another leak, he also apparently removed the patch on the first leak to check the crack for any changes, then replaced it. How one removes and replaces such a patch is a puzzle however. Such things are generally not removable.

No matter. The important detail is that the crack has not grown. If it was a stress fracture the recent dockings of spacecraft to the nearby port might cause it to grow. That it has not is good news.

The bad news is that the inspection did not find the second small leak that is thought to be in this same Zvezda module.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

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  • John

    The article sure isn’t detailed, but they could have done some non destructive testing to look at the crack under the patch.

  • Edward

    John wrote: “but they could have done some non destructive testing to look at the crack under the patch.

    It depends upon what is available aboard the ISS or what they can take up there. They don’t seem to have much available to do these kinds of tests. Interestingly, they don’t even have much for finding leaks, because they had to use tea leaves to find this one. Written that way, it seems mystical rather than scientific, but it also was innovative.

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