Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Russian Cosmonauts Take Spacewalk to Probe Mystery of Craft Hole

Russian Cosmonauts Take Spacewalk to Probe Mystery of Craft Hole

To expose the external hull, Kononenko needed to cut away a 10-inch (25-centimeter) swatch of thermal insulation and debris shield, a slow and hard task. Upon investigating, the flight crew found a tiny hole in the Soyuz capsule, which was docked to the space station. Nasa said, according to the outdoor use, prior to the clarification by the Russian specialists for each statement too early.

"Honestly I can't look at that", cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev says, as voiced by a translator, while fellow cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko slices into the side of the Soyuz MS-09 capsule.

The hole, detected in August, caused an air leak on the space station.

Crew members used tape to cover the hole and experts speculated that it could have been caused by the impact of a high-speed rocky fragment flying through space.

What makes it especially hard is that the Soyuz spacecraft, unlike the ISS, was not created to be repaired in spacewalks and has no outside railings for astronauts to hold onto. Bits of insulation floated harmlessly into space as the cosmonauts carved away.

The pair will take samples of any residue found on the hull of the capsule - which is used to transport astronauts and cosmonauts to and from the ISS - and take photos of the area for further investigation before placing a thermal blanket over it.

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The hole was in the orbital module, also known as the habitation module - one of three modules on the Soyuz vehicle.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko (in the spacesuit with red stripes) and Sergey Prokopyev (with blue stripes), both Expedition 57 flight engineers, cut into the exterior insulation of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft during a December 11.

This part of the capsule will be jettisoned as usual before atmospheric re-entry, and so poses no risk for descent.

The spacewalkers' job was to collect samples of any epoxy sealant that may have protruded from the hole. The extravehicular activity (EVA) was the 213th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance in the 20-year history of the space station.

Today, Prokopyev joined Kononenko on a spacewalk to inspect the fix area from the outside in an effort to discover what caused the leak and to collect a sample of the epoxy that had extruded through the hole from the inside. With Gerst Prokopyev, and the USA astronaut Serena Auñón land-Chancellor shortly before Christmas, back on earth.

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