Leak threat leaves ISS ‘old-and-out’

“Oxygen leaks that have been going on for months could threaten the safety of the International Space Station.” Russia’s “news” said on the 11th, since August, the International Space Station has been fighting the phenomenon of oxygen leakage, but still can not be completely resolved. Reported that the long-standing problem, more the future of the International Space Station cast a shadow. Starting in August, instruments on the International Space Station recorded an apparent air leak, with more than 200 grams of oxygen leaking into space every day, the report said.

Leak threat leaves ISS 'old-and-out'

(Photo from NASA)

“The extent of the leak means that a small hole about 0.1 mm in diameter appears on the space station. Although this situation is not serious, the International Space Station has an oxygen supply that does not pose a serious threat to the safety of astronauts, but this problem must also be resolved immediately. “But the key is that finding a hole in the space station that is invisible to the naked eye is not easy. At present, only the preliminary location of the leak occurred in Russia’s “star” service module, astronauts are trying to plug the leaking pores.

Russian news agency said on the 11th, the Russian ground flight control center has asked astronauts to use the United States sealant strip to seal the “star” service module compartment suspected of leaking gas. Russian cospon Ivan Wagner 9, the service module found two air leakage holes were blocked, but Wagner 10 to the control center reported that the leak continues. The International Space Station detected the leak in September 2019, but it wasn’t until August-September of this year that the astronauts twice closed the doors of each segment to check for their seal and hid in the Russian segment for days. It was later discovered that the leak was located roughly in the Russian “Star” service module. Sergey Krikalev, executive director of the Russian space group’s manned space program, said more air would need to be delivered to the space station if astronauts were unable to troubleshoot the leak for a long time.

Although the Russian space group said there was no threat to the ISS personnel, nor did it affect the station’s manned flight. But the leak on the International Space Station has raised concerns about its future prospects. The International Space Station has been in service since 1998 and has been in service for more than 15 years, the newspaper said. Under the current plan, it will be officially decommissioned in 2024. There have been several international proposals to extend the international space station’s operational life until 2030. “There doesn’t seem to be a problem with extending the life of an air leak before it happens. But the air leak is a wake-up call for those who propose extending the station’s operations.” This indicates that the International Space Station is aging and that problems may arise at any time. The U.S. Trump administration had wanted to switch to private business operations after it stopped funding the International Space Station in 2024, but the program’s earnings prospects are not promising.

Nor is the current complex Russian-American relationship likely to allow the two countries to continue to strengthen cooperation on the International Space Station. There is little chance that the two countries will jointly build a new space station in the future. At present, it is not realistic to build a new module for the International Space Station. The U.S. wants to build a lunar orbital station, and Russia has no money to build a new “star” segment on its own. At the same time, the importance of the International Space Station is steadily declining in the eyes of the international community, making it more difficult for countries to find funding to build new segments. The United States fears that China could become the only country in the world to have a space station when it is decommissioned.