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Cosmonauts see no reason to worry about ISS air leak

Cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov described the station’s technical condition as very good

MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov, who is now aboard the International Space Station (ISS), told reporters on Friday the crew sees no reason to worry about air leaks from the station.

"Small leaks occur at the station every day. Now the leak is slightly bigger than usual. We are working to find it and fix it. So, don’t worry," Ryzhikov said.

The cosmonaut described the station’s technical condition as very good and thanked its designers.

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 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 like more a curvilinear scratch 2-3 cm long.

A source familiar with the matter earlier told TASS specialists were considering the space station’s damage from the impact of a micro-meteorite or micro-debris as a possible cause of the air leak from the ISS.

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.

Meanwhile, Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos told TASS specialists continued 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.