Space station's mystery leak may be resolved
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: January 11, 2004

Space station commander Michael Foale today found a braided flexible hose with an apparent leak in it that may explain the slight loss of air pressure station engineers have been struggling to resolve over the past week.

The hose is part of a system that evacuates air between two of the six panes making up an optically-clear window in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Foale checked the hose with an ultrasound sensor today and even heard a clearly audible hissing sound. The hose was removed from two quick-disconnect fittings and so far, the station's air pressure has remained stable.

"It looks lke we found our culprit," astronaut Douglas Wheelock radioed Foale and station flight engineer Alexander "Sasha" Kaleri from mission control in Houston. "We, of course, are going to press on with some ... confirming measurements to make sure we found what we hope we found."

"Sasha and I are wondering why we didn't come to this conclusion a day or two earlier," Foale replied. "But there it is."

The leak in question was first detected in late December. Foale and Kaleri were in the process of checking the pressure integrity of the station's airlock, docking compartment and other systems in a bid to track down whatever might be leaking when Foale decided to run some additional checks in the lab module.

He had checked the hose in question earlier, but he did not detect any leakage, perhaps because of nearby equipment that was running at the time.

"We verified the Vozdukh (carbon dioxide remover) works well, and I think we've just verified that the airlock and the docking compartment and also the Soyuz are leak tight," Foale radioed. "That's one of the reasons why I came back to the lab, by the way, guys.

"As I was watching the pressure and temperatures balancing out on the airlock, I realized all that was pretty leak tight. So I thought, 'you know, we need to go back to the places we've looked at already and check one more time.' And that's what kind of led me down that path."

"We concur with all your thoughts," Wheelock replied. "We've been watching the lab and the docking compartment and the Soyuz stack and it looks like the pressures are holding nicely there."

Additional details will be posted as they become available.

Columbia Report
A reproduction of the official accident investigation report into the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Mars Panorama

DISCOUNTED! This 360 degree image was taken by the Mars Pathfinder, which landed on the Red Planet in July 1997. The Sojourner Rover is visible in the image.
 Choose your store:
U.S.

Apollo 11 Mission Report
Apollo 11 - The NASA Mission Reports Vol. 3 is the first comprehensive study of man's first mission to another world is revealed in all of its startling complexity. Includes DVD!
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Rocket DVD
If you've ever watched a launch from Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg Air Force Base or even Kodiak Island Alaska, there's no better way to describe what you witnessed than with this DVD.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Get e-mail updates
Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop (privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose).
Enter your e-mail address:

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.