International Space Station Astronauts trying to find a mystery air leak
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The International Space Station (ISS) might have to receive a delivery of extra air after it began to leak at above-normal volumes, according to the Russian space agency.
The air leak has been localised to one section of a service module and presents no danger to the Russian and American crew on board reported Roscosmos Executive Director, Sergei Krikalev.
Despite the leak sounding serious, NASA say it's fairly common and although it needs to be fixed, the leak "presents no immediate danger to the crew or the space station".
The statement added: "The size of the leak identified overnight has since been attributed to a temporary temperature change aboard the station with the overall rate of leak remaining unchanged."
While this leak is at a higher rate than normal, it is still within specifications. Air leaks out of the station regularly, with routine cargo missions sending nitrogen and oxygen tanks to ensure the modules of the ISS stay at the right pressure.
The leak was first spotted in September 2019, but it did not interfere with normal operations and the rate of air loss was not increasing or high enough to cause a problem. So, NASA simply monitored the situation and told the astronauts to focus on other space station work.
It's been a busy few months for the space station including astronauts taking space walks to make repairs on the outside of the ISS and SpaceX completing the first crewed commercial mission to the orbiting lab.
Speaking to Space.com, Dan Huot from NASA said: "Now that we have a relatively quiet period in the operations, the crew will be shutting the hatches to every single module so the ground can monitor each module's pressure to further isolate the source."
Locking off hatches inside the station means Astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian Cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin, have had to move to the Russian built Zvezda service module.
The Zvezda module was one of the first pieces sent up into space during the construction of the ISS and provides the space station's life support system. It's about the length of three double-decker buses, but its living quarters are normally home to two astronauts, not three.