Mir Cosmonauts May Have Fixed Leak
by Jim Mathews
04/21/00 08:32:04 AM U.S. EDT
Mir cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kalery think they’ve found and fixed the small air leak detected on the once-abandoned space station last year, reports MirCorp, the company financing Mir’s reactivation.
Internal pressure is now stabilizing, MirCorp says, after a sealing plug was installed yesterday on the Spektr module’s hatch. The plug replaced a pressure gauge on the Spektr hatch door after the cosmonauts detected the sound of escaping air. The now-plugged hatch separates the unpressurized Spektr module from the rest of the pressurized Mir station. Spektr has been unpressurized since 1997, when an unmanned Progress cargo re-supply spacecraft ran into the module during a docking maneuver.
The two cosmonauts have been searching for the leak since arriving on Mir earlier this month, isolating the station section by section to track down the problem. Repairing the leak is part of the first work phase for the cosmonauts preparing the station for its extended life as a commercial and scientific facility in space.