NASA Detects Leak on International Space Station


ISS From SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA

NASA detected a leak from Roscosmos Nauka’s backup radiator on the International Space Station; investigations are underway.

Today, at approximately 1 p.m. EDT, flight controllers in mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston made a concerning observation. Using cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) exterior, they observed flakes emanating from one of two radiators on the Roscosmos Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM).

Immediately, the flight control team informed the crew aboard the space station of the potential leak. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli confirmed the presence of the flakes from the cupola windows, after which the crew was asked to close the shutters on U.S. segment windows as a precaution against contamination.

The crew aboard the station was never in any danger.

NASA Astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins ISS Cupola

Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, both from NASA, are pictured looking out from a window on the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.” Credit: NASA

Roscosmos confirmed that the observed leak is on Nauka’s backup radiator, which is mounted to the outside of the module. The radiator was delivered to the space station on the Rassvet module during space shuttle mission STS-132 in 2010. It was transferred to the Nauka during a Roscosmos spacewalk in April. The primary radiator on Nauka is working normally, providing full cooling to the module with no impacts to the crew or to space station operations.

Teams on the ground will continue to investigate the cause of the leak. As further details emerge, additional updates will be provided.

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