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Date TimeAugust 31, 2018
VoiceAstronauts patch small rip leaking oxygen, seemingly caused by collision with a meteorite fragment
International Space Station crew repair leak in Russian craft
Astronauts on board the International Space Station have managed to repair a tiny tear in the fabric of a Russian capsule that was letting oxygen leak into space.
The ship docked at the orbiting lab in June. Scientists believe the small rip in its shell could have been caused by a fragment of a meteorite colliding with the capsule.
When the two-millimetre slash was detected, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst reportedly put his finger over the hole to try to plug the leak.
“In effect he literally touched space without a space suit,” the YouTube channel Techniques Spatiale tweeted.
As a quick fix the two Russian astronauts on board the ISS patched up the split from inside the craft using sealant and a cloth stuck over the area, after initially covering it with heat-resistant tape while controllers on the ground worked on a longer-term solution.
The module can be detached from the main body of the ISS if the fault cannot be fully repaired. But it is not clear what will be done with the spacecraft if it is damaged.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian state space agency Roscosmos, said: “Overnight and in the morning there was an abnormal situation – a pressure drop, an oxygen leak at the station.”
He added: “A micro-fracture was found, most likely it is damage from the outside. The design engineers believe it is the result of a micrometeorite.”
NASA confirmed the tear had led to a “minute pressure leak” and that the crew were containing the issue.
In a statement, they said: “Throughout the day the crew was never in any danger, and was told no further action was contemplated for the remainder of the day. Flight controllers will monitor the pressure trends overnight.
“All station systems are stable and the crew is planning to return to its regular schedule of work on Friday.”
Six people are currently orbiting Earth aboard the ISS – Nasa astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor, as well as Gerst, who is German, and two Russian cosmonauts – Oleg Artemyev and Sergei Prokopyev.

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