Russian astronauts have discovered more International Space Station cracks. Specifically, they foudn small cracks on their side of the ISS module. Those cracks could eventually expand, Reuters reports.
“Superficial fissures have been found in some places on the Zarya module,” Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer at Russian space corporation Energia, told state-owned news agency RIA. “This is bad and suggests that the fissures will begin to spread over time.”
International Space Station Is Aging Rapidly
The ISS is aging rapidly. The space station has been orbiting for over 20 years now. The 41-foot-long Zarya module was the first piece of the space station. It launched into orbit in 1998. Mainly used for storage and propulsion, the module is now showing cracks and fissures. Fortunately, these space station cracks do not pose a serious threat to the crew right now, But, the situation could change in the future.
Astronauts do not know the cause of the new cracks. Solovyov did not say whether the cracks were causing any air leaks, Reuters reported.
In September 2019, another space-station module, Zvezda, also showed cracks and started leaking air. But, again, the leak didn’t pose a major threat to the station’s crew until ISS managers observed an increased leakage rate. Finally, a year later, the astronauts were able to determine the location of the tiny cracks.
Previously, Solovyov told the Russian Academy of Sciences, “There are already a number of elements that have been seriously damaged and are out of service. Many of them are not replaceable. After 2025, we predict an avalanche-like failure of numerous elements onboard the ISS.”
After this week’s report, Russia has aggressively started to detach itself from the space station’s operations. Russia announced it will abandon the ISS as soon as 2025.
The newly-discovered cracks in the ISS module are pretty bad news. NASA has not confirmed the news.
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