Russian space officials say there's a recurring air-leak problem in their segment of the International Space Station

  • Roscosmos said Wednesday that it had detected an air leak on the International Space Station.

  • Hours earlier, NASA said it had detected such a leak in Russia's Zvezda life-support module.

  • It's a problem that Roscosmos said it fixed in early 2021 but appears to have resurfaced again.

Russia's space agency said on Wednesday that its section of the International Space Station was again suffering an air-leak issue but that the problem posed no threat to its crew.

"Indeed, specialists have detected an air leak on board the ISS," the press service of Roscosmos said on Wednesday, according to a translation by Interfax.

"There is no threat to crewmembers or the station itself," Roscosmos added.

Space officials said Russian crew were "regularly" working to identify and fix potential leaks on the ISS, per the state media agency TASS.

On the same day, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's program manager for the space station, Joel Montalbano, had reported an air leak in Russia's Zvezda life-support module during a press briefing for the new Crew-8 mission.

Montalbano said the leak was small but growing.

"There is an area at the end of the International Space Station that we've seen a leak. There is a small leak. We saw a leak increase about a week before the recent Progress launch and docking," he said.

Montalbano added that NASA was working with Roscosmos on the issue and that the leak was neither affecting crew safety nor disrupting the Crew-8 mission, which aims to send four astronauts to the space station.

NASA and Roscosmos found an air leak in Russia's side of the space station in August 2020. It was in the Zvezda module, which provides critical life support such as oxygen and water.

This leak source was identified in October 2020 and temporarily patched up, but another possible leak spot was found in November 2021 by the Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov.

Roscosmos said in January 2022 that the "last air leak" location in the Zvezda had been discovered and would be fixed.

But the announcement on Wednesday indicates that the problem has resurfaced.

Russia said in July 2022 that it would pull out of the space station after 2024, at a time when the US had announced sanctions targeting Russian leadership because of the war in Ukraine.

The station has been one of the last remaining points of cooperation between Roscosmos and NASA, which hopes to continue operating it until 2030.

Roscosmos said it planned to build its own space station, following the example of China's independent Tiangong station.

As Moscow continues to split from the West, Russian space officials have questioned the reliability of the old equipment on board the International Space Station.

Correction: March 4, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated the full name of NASA. It's the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, not the National American Space Agency.

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