Sunday, 20 January, 2019


Spacewalking astronauts check site of capsule leak - 12/11/2018 3:09:10 PM

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko conducts a spacewalk outside the International Space Station Space in this still image captured from NASA video in space Spacewalking astronauts check site of capsule leak - 12/11/2018 3:09:10 PM
Kristine Garrett | 14 December, 2018, 00:05

Nasa said, according to the outdoor use, prior to the clarification by the Russian specialists for each statement too early.

Oleg Kononeko and Sergei Prokopyev will spend about six hours on the spacewalk.

The leak was discovered in August, when cabin pressure in the ISS subtly dropped. The damage was apparently patched before the Soyuz actually launched into space, and it wasn't until it was attached to the space station that the makeshift repairs broke loose and started leaking.

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.

Roscosmos space agency said the aim was to discover whether the "small but dangerous" hole had been made on Earth or in space.

The Soyuz spacecraft is used to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.

Samples taken by the two cosmonauts will eventually be returned to Earth for investigations to be completed to find the possible cause of the hole.

The two cosmonauts then used the same tools to cut into and peel away a thin metal orbital debris shield to expose the hole in the Soyuz MS-09's orbital compartment.

This part of the capsule will be jettisoned as usual before atmospheric re-entry, and so poses no risk for descent.

And because this particular module of the capsule will split off and burn up on re-entry back to Earth, they wanted to analyse their fix job from the outside and scrape off some samples of the epoxy to return to Earth and study. Astronauts Sergey Prokopyev and Alexander Gerst repaired the 0.07-inch-wide (2 millimeters) hole with material soaked in an epoxy sealant.

The spacewalk will be the fourth of Kononenko's career and he'll be wear a spacesuit with red stripes on this journey, while Prokopyev will bear blue stripes for his second spacewalk.

This was the 213th spacewalk in 20 years at the space station. Kononenko has now logged a total of 26 hours and 12 minutes working in the vacuum of space, including a 2008 spacewalk when he performed similar work to what he did on today, cutting into the insulation covering the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft to remove a pyrotechnic device.

Prokopyev, Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor are scheduled to return to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-09 on December 19 after 6.5 months aboard the space station.

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