Air Leak on the International Space Station as Crew Sleeps

Air Leak on the International Space Station as Crew Sleeps

Alarm bells went off in Houston, Texas, and outside of Moscow on Wednesday, August 29, alerting flight control crews of a pressure drop.

Upon finding the source of the leak, a two millimeter (0.08 inch) hole in the orbital compartment of the Soyuz MS-09, astronaut Alexander Gerst from the European Space Agency plugged it with his thumb.

Controllers at NASA said their readings also showed that the pressure had stabilized, and they continued to monitor the situation.

Roscosmos said in a statement Friday that "the safety and health of the crew are not threatened".

NASA has recently developed a system to pinpoint leaks that works the same way people find a leak in a rubber tyre-by identifying the high-frequency signature hiss.

A minute breach about 2mm in size, smaller than the fingernail on a little finger, was detected in in the upper section of a Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.

Before you panic for the fearless astronauts that live up there six months of the year, the incident, was possibly caused by a micrometeorite strike, only left a 2mm hole in a capsule docked at the station. Spare a thought for the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

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While flight controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Russian Mission Control Center near Moscow worked to come up with a plan, they instructed the crewmembers to release some air from the pressurized oxygen tank on the Progress 70 cargo spacecraft to help return the space station to its normal pressure.

Gerst, along with United States astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, are due to use the same Soyuz vehicle to return to Earth at the end of the year.

Mission controllers were first alerted to the issue by air pressure sensors on board the station.

After the Russian crew taped over the hole, a sealant on a cloth was stuck over the area.

NASA and Russian space officials stressed the six astronauts were in no danger. According to Sputnik News, the breach was "believed to be caused by a micrometeoroid", a tiny rock fragment that hit the ISS at high velocity.

'Once the patching is complete, additional leak checks will be performed. However, the exact cause has yet to be determined.

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