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International Space Station leak may have been caused by a micrometeorite strike

File photo The International Space Station is seen in this view of the space shuttle Discovery after the undocking of the two spacecraft in this photo provided by NASA and taken March 7, 2011. (REUTERS/NASA/handout)

NASA and the Russian colleagues have identified a small pressure leak on the International Space Station Wednesday, which may have been caused by a micrometeorite strike.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos told state news agency TASS that a “micro-fracture” was found in a compartment of the Soyuz-MS-09 spacecraft currently docked with the space station.

The fracture, he said, can be external damage and is considered to be the result of a micro-meteorite. The fracture caused a decrease of the pressure and an air leak on the station, according to Rogozin, who said that the problem is solved.

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NASA said that flight controllers in Houston and Moscow spotted “a minute pressure leak” around 7 pm EDT Wednesday.

The crew aboard the International Space Station is to perform troubleshooting and repair work today after the discovery of a small leak of last night can be traced back to the Russian segment of the orbiting complex. More… https://t.co/MbtYrlFuO0 pic.twitter.com/eAOa8tVadQ

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 30, 2018

The space station crew is busy with the troubleshooting and repairs to the leak, NASA explained in a blog post Thursday morning. “The leak is isolated to a gap of about two millimeters in diameter in the orbit of the compartment, or the upper part of the Soyuz-MS-09-spacecraft attached to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment,” the space agency explained. “This is a part of the Soyuz that do not return to the Earth.”

Once the hole was established, the crew applied Kapton tape, which slowed the leak. “Flight controllers working with the crew to develop a more extensive long-term repair,” NASA added. “As soon as the patch is completed, additional leak checks will be performed. All station systems are stable and the crew is in no danger, because the work on the development of a long-term recovery continues.”

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NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the operation of the orbiting space laboratory, along with the European Space Agency, the japanese JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency.

Six crew members of the ISS, led by the station Commander and NASA astronaut Drew Feustel. NASA flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor, are also on the space station, together with Alexander Barley, of ESA and Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

The six members of the crew gathered in the Russian segment of the station, after they were informed of the leak, NASA said.

The space station, which has been continuously occupied since November 2000, has an internal pressure of the volume is equal to that of a Boeing 747, according to NASA.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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