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Crew on the ISS are racing to patch a ‘leak’ caused by a collision with a METEORITE

Crew inside the International Space Station are racing to patch a ‘leak’ likely caused by a collision with a small meteorite, officials say.

The ‘micro fracture’ in the $150 billion (£115 billion) space station was discovered after astronauts noticed a drop in pressure.

This was caused by air from inside the ISS rapidly leaking out into space.

According to the head of the Russian space agency, the impact was sustained to the Soyuz spaceship that brought astronauts to the ISS back in June.

It is currently docked with the International Space Station.

Officials say the crew is not currently in any danger and will be able to patch the fracture micro fracture from inside the space station.

Crew inside the International Space Station (pictured) are racing to patch a small ‘leak’ likely caused by a collision with a small meteorite

The International Space Station, or ISS, is a science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000. 

‘Overnight and in the morning there was an abnormal situation – a pressure drop, an oxygen leak at the station,’ Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin told Russian news agencies today.

‘A micro fracture was found, most likely it is damage from the outside. 

‘The design engineers believe it is the result of a micrometeorite,’ he said. 

The head of the Russian space agency said the incident presented no danger and said the fracture will be patched from the inside by the current crew.

Nasa confirmed the problem, saying it consisted of a ‘minute pressure leak’ and that the crew was in the process of repairing the damage.

The module is not needed to get the astonauts back to Earth so these issues will not cause problems for the descent.

‘As flight controllers monitored their data, the decision was made to allow the Expedition 56 crew to sleep since they were in no danger’, Nasa said in a statement.

‘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’.

According to the head of the Russian space agency, the impact was sustained to the Soyuz spaceship (pictured) that brought astronauts to the ISS back in June

According to the head of the Russian space agency, the impact was sustained to the Soyuz spaceship (pictured) that brought astronauts to the ISS back in June

Depressurisation is extremely dangerous for crews on board the ISS and this is not the first time a leak has happened in the ISS.

In 2007, another leak occurred in the station’s Harmony module in the US section but officials said at the time the leak was no cause for concern.

‘The crew are healthy and safe with weeks of air left in the International Space Station reserves,’ ESA officials said in the statement following this latest leak.

‘The leak has been identified and repair procedures are ongoing.’

Six men are currently orbiting Earth aboard the ISS, including NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon, as well as Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and two Russian cosmonauts – Oleg Artemyev and Sergei Prokopyev. 

WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION?

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.

The space station is currently home to two Russians, three Americans and one Japanese. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

The International Space Station (file photo) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth

The International Space Station (file photo) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.

Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.

Last month, Russia completed the fastest ever same-day delivery mission to space after arriving at the ISS in just three hours and 48 minutes.

A Russian cargo ship carrying nearly three tons of supplies lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:51pm BST (5:51pm ET) on Monday 2, July.

The unmanned craft carried a fresh load of fuel, food and other supplies to the orbiting laboratory, docking at 2:39am BST Tuesday (9:39pm ET Monday).

Russian flights to the ISS often take days, but Progress MS-09 cut travel time down to under four hours using a new carefully planned, two-orbit trajectory.

The previous same-day spaceflight record was 5 hours and 39 minutes, set in 2013 by the Roscosmos Soyuz TMA-09M rocket.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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