Friday, 15 February, 2019

Cosmonauts to examine mystery hole on ISS spacewalk

Cosmonauts to examine mystery hole on ISS spacewalk Cosmonauts to examine mystery hole on ISS spacewalk
Theresa Hayes | 14 December, 2018, 00:08

During a seven-hour, 45-minute outing, spacewalkers Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev made their way from the station's Pirs docking compartment to the side of the Soyuz with the aid of a Russian-made inspection boom. The spacewalk itself, I would say, was unprecedented in terms of complexity and risks.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has ruled out a manufacturing defect causing the 2 mm-wide hole found in August on the Russian Soyuz capsule, but NASA has sought to dampen speculation of sabotage.

The capsule had already been repaired from the inside in August, before it transported a new crew to the space station in June.

What makes it especially hard is that the Soyuz spacecraft, unlike the ISS, was not created to be repaired in spacewalks and has no outside railings for astronauts to hold onto. Pressure returned to normal.

The crew aboard the space station has, since the leak was discovered and repaired, conducted frequent leak detection work and pressure measurements to make sure that the leak stayed sealed and the pressure on the space station remained normal.

There is a hole in a space capsule docked at the International Space Station (ISS).

Kononenko and Prokofyev did not have time to perform two scientific operations outside the ISS.

Bits of shredded silver insulation floated away, as Kononenko slashed at it with a knife.

Three returning spacefliers will take their seats in a separate area of the Soyuz spacecraft, the descent module, and the habitation module will be jettisoned as usual before atmospheric re-entry.

"That is exactly the hole we've been looking for, guys", radioed Russian Mission Control outside Moscow.

"The active participation of global partners, primarily NASA, in the investigation is not expected, although we have called for a joint investigation and been ready to provide available materials: photos, videos, documents, samples of materials taken during the spacewalk", the source said. While not an immediate risk, they investigated and found a hole on the inside of the Soyuz habitation module, which is now docked at the space station. Kononenko, and Prokopyev took photos and Videos of the leak.

Nasa said it was a "Eureka Moment", as the hole was found after several hours. The materials will be brought back to Earth for further examination.