Hairline fracture in the "Union": the PCO explains the ISS, how to apply the patch

SL, Четверг 30 Август 2018 - 22:45:42

"The hole closed using your finger Alexander Gerst". This is about emergency on the international space station. The quote is from the broadcast of the meeting of the American astronauts. Air leakage was detected on Board the ISS tonight. The cause was quickly found — docked to the station in Soyuz spacecraft. It was two cracks is very small — only a few millimeters each. But the situation is non-standard, which was watched by not only the employees of the space industry, but also ordinary users of the Network.

They allegedly heard in the negotiations with the ISS the German astronaut in the first minutes, just close the crack with your finger. During the incident, all six cosmonauts in the Russian segment. What exactly happened will determine the special Commission. The General Director of "Rosatom" Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the holes could be formed due to the falling debris of the meteorite. Now he is in the mission control Center is responsible for repairs to the ISS.

With a similar situation on the ISS when the particles of space debris has damaged the lining, face more or less regularly. The algorithm worked. Due to these calm and aboard the station and mission control Center.

"Kit, which station consists of different parts. But all is just epoxy, which is simply diluted, which, even in the shops there. Glued tape, the point spread. It's all epoxy and eliminated," — said Maxim Suraev, a cosmonaut, hero of the Russian Federation.

According to statistics, in near-earth space are worn at tremendous speeds 170 million objects larger than 1 millimeter. Most space debris is at altitudes where satellites are working, that is, from 800 kilometers and higher. And incidentally, he has killed four spacecraft.

ISS to Earth two times closer. But there are about a thousand of foreign objects. The most serious collision happened in 2012, when he suffered an automatic shutter to protect the window seat, and a year later — then hit one of the solar panels. At least 23 times ISS is performed maneuvers for evasion from space debris.

Even the smallest grain of sand in space, accelerating to 15 kilometers per second, receives a tremendous energy. Here are the results of scientists. A small piece weighing 40 grams in space is kinetic energy comparable with a loaded KAMAZ, traveling at speeds of 90 kilometers per hour.

Of course, that the possible ingress of debris into account in the design of the ISS.

There are over 100 shield configurations on the International space station with higher risk areas having better fencing.

The current design is based on a series of screens, known as the "Whipple shield" and the "Whipple bumper". They are thin layers of material, placed at some distance from the main body of the station. When small objects fall to the path station, the bumpers reduce their impact or even destroy them.

"We have been on these ships are flying and everything is fine. There [on the ISS] and vacuum thermal insulation and the entire ship is covered with special mats. They are made of layer — special fabric and foil. That is such a layer cake. And it's all these mats is covered and closed. And the whole ship full of these mats is closed," said Suraev.

However, the impact of space debris even in a layered defense is impressive. Holes and cracks in the photos, caused by standard bolts.

"If the crack is visible, and if it is easily accessible, it is possible even without a kit, utility things to close, to shut her up, Because it does not lay, the atmospheric pressure inside the station is going to push this patch to the crack. Most importantly, to discover them all all close. Now, if it continues to fall, then two weeks later it will be uninhabitable. This can cause serious problems, although not life-threatening astronauts. Because in any case, you can block the entrance to the "Union", — said Ivan Moiseev, head of the space policy Institute.

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