New cracks discovered in Russian module aboard the ISS

As the ISS ages, some systems aboard the space station are beginning to break down. Recently, Russian cosmonauts found new cracks in the Zarya module. Russian officials say the new cracks will likely spread over time. There has been no confirmation of the cracks causing air to leak from the space station.

In the past, there had been a leak in the Russian Zvezda module that astronauts aboard the space station had to repair. That leak did cause the atmosphere to vent from the space station. Russia had warned in the past that the space station was aging and broken equipment would become common after 2025.

Another issue happened aboard the ISS in recent months when the new Russian research module called Nauka accidentally fired its thrusters shortly after docking. The thruster firing pushed the space station from its normal flight position but was recovered and returned to normal orientation. Russia has cleared up some of the mystery surrounding that accidental thruster firing, confirming that a possible lapse in human attention was to blame for the error.

Again last month, the Zvezda module that had leaked in the past had a pressure drop. The pressure drop was caused by another leak, according to reports. The leaking atmosphere aboard the ISS poses an obvious problem for astronauts living there. Russia has said in the past that it will remain part of the ISS through 2024. After that date, Russia has hinted that it might partner up with China on a new space station.

However, Russian space agency Roscosmos has said that it might extend its participation beyond 2024. As of now, no firm decision has been made. NASA is barred by the US government from participating in any mission with China.