Cosmonauts discover Russian ISS module is “cracking”

The International Space Station (ISS) has now reached 20 years of operation, and the most recent sign of wear and tear on the orbital laboratory has been noticed by cosmonauts on board. According to information from Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer at the Russian company Energia, new cracks have been identified in the Russian segment of the station — and he warned that they could grow even more.

Solovyov told RIA Novosti, Russia’s news agency, that some superficial cracks were found in some places in the Zarya module. This is the first component of the station, released on November 20, 1998. In addition, he warned that “this is bad, and suggests the cracks will spread over time”, but did not mention whether the cracks were causing any leakage. of air.

The Zarya module (Image: Playback/NASA)

Previously, the official had already pointed out that much of the station’s equipment is aging, noting that the station could experience an “avalanche of damaged equipment” after 2025. This is not the first time that some laboratory component has shown signs of wear: in 2019, small cracks in the Zvezda module caused a small air leak that, after months of searching, was sealed in October 2020 and March 2021.

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Due to the advanced period of operation, the ISS is each day closer to being deactivated, so it should remain in operation until 2024. In addition, Solovyov’s comment comes at a time when Russia already shows some distance from the operations of the ISS, and the country has already mentioned that it may abandon it in order to invest in its own orbital laboratory.

Source: Futurism, Reuters, Space.com

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