Astronauts Work to Seal Air Leak on Space Station. Here's How

The International Space Station.                        NASA

The International Space Station. NASA

Russia's space agency says air pressure on the International Space Station has been restored to proper levels after a leak was repaired. Ground controllers noticed a slow drop in cabin pressure Wednesday night (Aug. 29) around 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) and decided it wasn't significant enough to disrupt the crew's sleep schedule, NASA officials said in a statement. Eventually, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst found the hole, a teeny little rupture in the Russian Soyuz MS-09 module.

A minute breach about 2mm in size, smaller than the fingernail on a little finger, was detected in in the upper section of a Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. Earlier, flight controllers tapped into the oxygen supply of a Russian cargo capsule to partially replenish the atmosphere in the station.

At about 7 p.m. on August 29, flight controllers on the ground in Houston and Moscow began seeing signs of a pressure leak in the space station.

After the hole had been taped up, crewmembers put sealant on a cloth and stuck it over the area.

Gerst, along with U.S. astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, are due to use the same Soyuz vehicle to return to Earth at the end of the year.

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Russia's space agency will carry out additional analysis for other leaks.

Troubleshooting and fix work continued. Then, they used a piece of medical tape with epoxy resin to form a more durable patch.

NASA said: "Flight controllers will monitor pressure trends overnight".

"Throughout the day, the crew was never in any danger, and was told no further action was contemplated for the remainder of the day", NASA officials wrote on the International Space Station blog. According to Sputnik News, the breach was "believed to be caused by a micrometeoroid", a tiny rock fragment that hit the ISS at high velocity.

"When the crew was awakened at its normal hour this morning, flight controllers at Mission Control in Houston and at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow began working procedures to try to determine the location of the leak". However, the exact cause has yet to be determined.

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