Russian new sources today reported that their oxygen regeneration system on the ISS module Zvezda has failed.
A Russian cosmonaut told a specialist from the Mission Control Centre in the Moscow Region that the Electron-VM OGS installed in the Russian Zvezda module had failed.
Essentially this information was overheard by Russian sources during communications between mission control and the Russians on-board ISS.
Whether this failure is related to the rise in temperature this week in Zvezda is unknown. Also, the failed unit itself might be one that came with the station when it was launched 20 years ago, or it might be an upgraded unit launched later.
This unit is designed to recycle oxygen on board so as to reduce the need to haul up new supplies. Its failure poses no immediate threat to the station or its crew, since there is plenty of oxygen store on board and the U.S. has its own regeneration unit. However, if it isn’t repairable and can’t be replaced quickly it likely means future cargo manifests will require larger stocks of oxygen. It also might mean a reduction in total crew on ISS, which only now is returning to more than three for long periods because of the initiation of American private ferrying serves.
Meanwhile the location of the leak on Zvezda remains unknown. It needs to be pinpointed and hopefully solved, because if it is a more serious age issue ISS managers need to know.
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