Earlier this week Russian astronauts located and patched three more leaks in the 20+ year old Russian Zvezda module on ISS.
Prior to this week’s discovery, the recent patching done by Russian astronauts had reduced the air loss by about half. They need to do another seal test of Zvezda to see if these newer patches have reduced it further.
The report at the link from Russia is as usual very vague. No photos of any of the leaks have been released, by either Russia or NASA. No cause either has been described. This lack of information suggests that the leaks represent a more systemic problem, possibly related to stress fractures from age and wear. If so, it also suggests that Zvezda is nearing its pull-date. How this central module will be replaced from the station remains a major mystery.
Above all, this puts some urgency to the launch of newer modules, such as those being built by the private company Axiom.
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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