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International Space Station crew fix leak in Russian craft

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The International Space Station.                        NASA

Relations have been strained between Russia and the United States over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The International Space Station's cabin pressure is holding steady after crews repaired a leak on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the orbital complex, Russia's space agency said Friday.

The Soyuz MS-09 will not be used to bring back astronauts from the ISS, so any other damages to the spacecraft will not be endangering their lives.

"Although the leak is small, if it had not been spotted the crew would have run out of air in 18 days", the Daily Telegraph says.

The hole in question was only two millimetres in diameter, but could have caused serious consequences for the crew if left unfixed. Their colleagues took photos of the hole and patching to send them to engineers on the ground and so that they assess the situation and find a long-term solution.

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Alarm bells went off in Houston, Texas, and outside of Moscow on Wednesday, August 29, alerting flight control crews of a pressure drop.

The rate of the leak was slowed this morning through the temporary application of Kapton tape at the leak site.

Rogozin said the leak could be repaired from within, with no need for a spacewalk.

As reported, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said that the return flight of "Soyuz-MS", scheduled for early next year, "will complete the implementation of our obligations under a contract with NASA". Controllers located at both NASA's facility in Houston, Texas, as well as in Moscow, continued to monitor the issue, ultimately deciding to let the crew on the ISS get a proper night's sleep before alerting them; there was never any danger to them. Orbital debris is a constant threat, even the tiniest specks.

NASA tweeted, "The @Space_Station crew is conducting troubleshooting and fix work today after the discovery of a tiny leak last night traced to the Russian segment of the orbital complex".

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