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Russian astronauts begin work to seal 2nd Zvezda leak on ISS

After successfully sealing the largest crack on the twenty-year-old Zvezda module on ISS, Russian astronauts have now begun work on sealing a second such crack.

The report, from Russia’s state-run news service TASS, is not very informative. It does not report the size of the leaks, their nature, and any other important conclusions the Russians have gathered about Zvezda’s overall condition and future, based on these cracks.

Nor has state-run NASA been very transparent on this subject, releasing little further information. The silence from these government entities about the cracks is very worrisome, as it suggests these fixes are merely bandaids on a more serious issue with Zvezda’s structure, and our dishonest and bureaucratic governments do not wish to reveal this fact to the public.

I hope I am wrong, but suspect I am not. If Russia follows its pattern for the past half century, they will provide a more detailed report only after the problem has been completely solved. If these patches are merely temporary fixes over a more serious problem, don’t expect that detailed report for some time.

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.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

4 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    Now, here is where inflatables and soft robotics can come into play: a more rugged version of the Beam module has two docking ports on either end-station side screwed in-the far docking side has straps that flow over the module to windlasses. A flexing bumper dock.

  • Jay

    Jeff,
    With your “flexing bumper dock” made me think of something else about the dockings to Zvezda. Yes there has been about a 100 dockings to the aft port of Zvezda. 36 of them have been Progress and 5 of them have been ESA’s ATV, which have been used to boost the orbit of the ISS. I wonder how much stress is put on that port when a boost is going on?

  • Jeff Wright

    I don’t think it is the boost that does the damage. Now if you have ever watched Ice Road Truckers-you know what can happen when cold soaked steel gets a good lick. Now imagine I have a manhole on the bow of a ship afloat on the water-and a swing a medicine ball at it at below Antarctic temps. A medicine ball is used by cranes and such to knock walls down. Hold one…oh, about five feet out from the bow-and let it swing? That’s about what a Soyuz hit is like. It may be ‘weightless’ but that 7 ton mass is still there. In ASTP the Soyuz got the worst of it with Apollo massing out to nearly their TKS ferry. They put tires on tugboats for a reason. We lost a lot of the Soviet sub during Azorian because the claw that the Glomar used was aerospace grade, not marine grade for toughness. Another reason to love Truax.

  • Jay

    Jeff,
    I fully understand what you are talking about. I was just wondering about the force and/or vibration from a Progress spacecraft firing off it’s engines. The thing I do not know is when the Progress is boosting the station, is it constant for a duration or is it multiple short bursts?

    Believe it or not I have heard a lot of stories about the Glomar Explorer. When I did work on an oil vessel, I worked with a guy who was part of that project. Over many beers at dinner he would tell us stories about it.

    Thanks,

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