The astronauts were awakened during the night to continue searching for an air leak on the International Space Station (ISS).
Crew members were searching for the source over the course of several weeks.
But the search was greatly escalated when the volume of the leak appeared to have increased on Monday; It turned out that this wrong reading was caused by a temperature change aboard the International Space Station.
The analysis conducted by the ground teams traced the leak to the main work area within the Russian ISS unit called Zvezda.
This unit contains life support equipment for the space station as well as living quarters for two crew members.
Further analysis will be necessary to determine the exact area the air escapes from.
NASA confirmed that it does not pose any direct threat to the crew at the current leakage rate And it will only lead to a slight deviation from the continuous work schedule of the crew.
- Astronauts treat the leak on the space station
- Spacewalking astronauts investigate the hole
NASA astronaut and station commander Chris Cassidy, Russian cosmonaut (Roskosmos) Anatoly Evanshyn and Ivan Wagner have been instructed to move to the Russian segment to collect data at various locations in Russian units.
One by one, the crew closed the gates between the Zvezda’s back and front sections, along with passages to the other sections and units, while using an ultrasound leak detector to collect data.
It was the third time in just over a month that the crew had to isolate themselves on the Russian side, in an attempt to find the increased leak.
Pressure measurements were analyzed overnight to try to isolate the source of the leak. When the night inspections were completed, the crew opened the gates again between the American and Russian parts of the station, and resumed their normal activities.
This is not the first time that International Space Station crew members find themselves searching for a leak.
In August 2018, astronauts discovered a 2 mm bore hole in the portion of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that docked on the space station at the time.
The hole, along with the nearby drill marks, appeared to be a manufacturing defect. Crew members affixed it with epoxy resin for the rest of the time that Soyuz docked at the space station.