MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. Cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov who returned to Earth in a Soyuz descent capsule along with two other crewmembers of the International Space Station (ISS) on April 17 said on Monday that there were no obvious reasons for cutting the term of the orbital outpost’s operation.
"The rich experience accumulated aboard the Salyut and Mir orbital stations makes it possible to work systematically on possible adverse changes either in onboard systems or expendables - in the entire array of equipment that may cut the service life. That is why, the service life increases several-fold and modules are used. To my mind, there are no obvious reasons for cutting the term of the station’s operation so far," the cosmonaut said in an interview for the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
The cosmonauts who return to Earth from the ISS can only state "that the station’s condition is quite good, even though some modules are beyond their guaranteed service life," he stressed.
"But cosmonautics does not stand idle and technology continues developing," he said.
Ryzhikov said earlier on Monday that the state of the orbital outpost’s Russian segment had improved since his first space expedition. He made his first spaceflight to the ISS in October 2016 and returned to Earth in April 2017.
Cosmonauts to continue work on eliminating air leaks aboard space station
Cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station will continue work on sealing cracks in the Russian Zvezda service module, Ryzhikov said.
"The extent of the air leak has decreased but [the air leak spots] have not been fully eliminated. That is why, this work will be continued, he said.
The devices delivered to the ISS helped accurately identify the air leak spot and seal it, the cosmonaut specified. The ISS crewmembers had to use threads, foam balls and tea leaves to search for air leak spots. They helped register the air flow when hatches were closed, Ryzhikov said.
In March, cosmonauts Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov carried out repair and recovery work in the Russian Zvezda module where a crack and some potential air leak spots were detected. The Russian crewmembers conducted all their operations under the direction of the ISS Russian Segment’s main operational control group and engineers of the Energia Space Rocket Corporation. All the Russian crew’s operations were agreed with NASA specialists.
In mid-April, Roscosmos cosmonaut Ivan Vagner told reporters that the air leak aboard the orbital outpost had dropped three-fold after the cracks were sealed.
The descent capsule of the Soyuz MS-17 manned spacecraft landed in Kazakhstan at 07:55 Moscow time on April 17, bringing cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and US astronaut Kathleen Rubins back to Earth after a long-term space expedition.
Over the period of their work in orbit, the Russian cosmonauts made a spacewalk and conducted over 50 scientific researches and experiments. Four experiments were carried out for the first time and three researches were conducted in the automatic mode without the crew’s participation.