ISS: Space walk cosmonauts investigate mystery hole

ISS: Space walk cosmonauts investigate mystery hole

"There's nothing, that's the problem", Kononenko said ahead of the outing.

The crew aboard the space station has, since the leak was discovered and repaired, conducted frequent leak detection work and pressure measurements to make sure that the leak stayed sealed and the pressure on the space station remained normal.

In line with the instructions from the control centre, they also took pictures of the external side of the hole.

The hole, which had apparently be hastily patched before the Soyuz launched from Earth, eventually broke open and began leaking air out into space, at which point the space station's system detected it.

This might have been lost in the relentless cacophony of absurdity that was all of the news of 2018, but do you by any chance remember how back in September the Russians found a hole that appeared to be deliberately drilled in the Soyuz module docked with the International Space Station?

And so on Tuesday the 2-millimeter hole led to a foot-long gash, as Kononenko sawed through the debris shield and insulation, looking for clues.

These will then be sent to Earth to "get at the truth" of the cavity's origins, a video released by the space agency said. With Gerst Prokopyev, and the US astronaut Serena Auñón land-Chancellor shortly before Christmas, back on earth.

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What made 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.

Russian officials later denied those reports.

NASA said the pieces of freed insulation posed no threat to the space station and would likely burn up in the atmosphere in a day or so.

The spacewalk was the fourth for Kononenko and the second for Prokopyev.

Astronauts were unsure how the hole got there but plugged it using a bit of cloth and epoxy sealant.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's civilian space agency Roscosmos, described the spacewalk as "unprecedented in its complexity". The hole is in a section that will not be used for the return journey to Earth on December 20.

The ISS is one of the few areas of Russia-US cooperation that remains unaffected by the slump in relations and Washington's sanctions.

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