According to Russia’s state news service, astronauts on ISS have located several leaks in the 20-year-old Zvezda module of ISS, and will spend the next five days fixing them.
This report clarifies a previous report that left more questions than it answered. It appears that there are several leaks that were found using a microscope sent to the station and temporarily sealed. Now the goal in the next five days will be to permanently seal them.
[A] hole will be drilled at one of the fracture’s ends, which will be filled with cold welding and sealed with a fluoroplastic film on top. The same procedure will be done with other holes. After that, the surface will be sanded and wiped with alcohol wipes and covered with a sealant. Overall, the cosmonauts will put three layers of the sealant.
The repair method suggests that they are all cracks. To stop a crack from growing you drill out the end.
That they are all cracks further suggests that these are all stress fractures. Thus, no matter how permanent these particular repairs are, they cannot solve the greater problem of the aging module itself. We should expect more cracks to appear in the future unless something more drastic is done.
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.
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