MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Specialists continue studying the fracture found in Russia’s Zvezda module of the International Space Station (ISS) but it is premature to blame a possible external impact for its emergence, the federal space agency Roscosmos told TASS on Friday.
"Specialists are currently considering various versions of the fracture’s origin and that is why it is premature to make conclusions about its causes, including an external impact on the module," Roscosmos said.
Specialists of the main flight control team of the space station’s Russian segment continue studying the crack in the Zvezda module jointly with the orbital outpost’s crew, Roscosmos stressed.
Cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov currently working aboard the ISS earlier said in a talk with ISS Russian Segment Flight Director Vladimir Solovyov that the crack could have emerged due to an external object hitting the space station. The cosmonaut suggested examining the external impact area from the outside of the module during a spacewalk scheduled for November 18 under the Russian flight program. Solovyov said, however, it would be difficult to do that.
A source told TASS in August that the space station’s Russian-American crew was working on tracing an air leak aboard the orbital outpost. Later, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos confirmed this information.
The ISS crew reported to Russia’s Flight Control Center on the morning of October 15 that the cosmonauts had found the possible air leak spot in the inter-section compartment of the Zvezda module with the help of a tea bag. As the cosmonauts said, the air was possibly leaking through a fracture. The crack was no more than 4 cm wide and posed no threat to the space station’s safety, Roscosmos specified.
Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin later said at a post-flight press conference the air leak spot looked more like a curvilinear scratch 2-3 cm long.
A source familiar with the matter earlier told TASS specialists were considering impact of a micro-meteorite or micro-debris as a possible cause of the air leak from the ISS.