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Russian cosmonauts trace air leak aboard orbital outpost with tea bag

The Russian cosmonauts have traced a probable air leak aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a tea bag, Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin said during a communications session with Russia’s Flight Control Center on Thursday.

The tea bag’s sway in zero gravity conditions towards the air leak overboard the space station was registered by cameras, the cosmonaut said.

“We believe that we have really identified the probable leakage area. We have distributed a tea bag [in the Zvezda module] before closing the transfer chamber,” Ivanishin said.

The tea bag’s movement was recorded, the Russian cosmonaut said.

“We have several photos and videos of the direction of the tea bag’s flight or where it intended to fly and this precisely shows the direction the air is blowing from the possible air leak,” the cosmonaut said.

A source told TASS in August that the space station’s Russian-American crew was working on tracing an air leak aboard the orbital outpost. As Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos later told TASS, the cosmonauts had come to the conclusion that the air leak was located in the Russian Zvezda module but it posed no threat to the crew’s life and health.

Cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov said during a pre-flight press-conference on Wednesday that the crew of the Soyuz MS-17 manned spacecraft would bring additional equipment to the orbital outpost to trace the air leak in the transfer compartment of the Russian Zvezda module and a special sealant.

The Soyuz MS-17 manned spacecraft launched from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan at 08:45 a.m. Moscow time on October 14 docked to the International Space Station at 11:48 a.m. Moscow time on the same day, making a super-fast flight to the orbital laboratory within three hours and three minutes.

Source: TASS