More disturbing news is coming to us from orbit. The Russian crew. currently aboard the International Space Station. has discovered serious cracks in the walls of another module.
The matter is serious because this module cannot be gotten rid of. It is a key segment of not only the Russian, but the entire part of the space house. For the time being, it is exactly unknown whether life-giving oxygen is escaping from the module into space. The crew in the coming days is expected to make a thorough inspection not only of the Zaria module, but also of all the others.
Vladimir Solovyov, chief rocket and space engineer of the Russian Energia Corporation, reported that the detected cracks will grow. It is necessary to organize the largest maintenance operation in history as soon as possible, before it is too late.
Experts are almost certain that the cracks are the result of recent dangerous events related to the connection of a new Russian module called Science. Recall that after it was connected to the Station, there was a failure of the on-board computer that triggered the maneuvering engines of the module, which led to the rotation of the International Space Station by as much as 540 degrees.
It is also significant that Zaria is the first module of the International Space Station to be launched in 1998. The Russians did not anticipate that the segment would serve astronauts for so long. It hasn’t undergone any major refurbishments since then because Russia doesn’t invest in the ISS the way it once did.
Zaria is connected to the Zvezda module, where several holes have been discovered in recent months. It’s unclear exactly how they formed, but experts believe they are the result of space rock impacts or material fatigue. Meanwhile, the Russians are certain that they were premeditatedly drilled by an American astronaut who was struggling with mental problems.
Experts from the space industry world believe that the recent events may accelerate the moment of mission completion to the International Space Station and its imminent deorbitation. Such plans could come to fruition after 2025. If that happens and the facility is not serviced further, it could be a huge blow to companies like SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Boeing, which are building their vehicles with the goal of carrying out missions specifically to the ISS.
NASA is currently focused on building the first space station in lunar orbit, but there are also plans to build a new station in Earth orbit. It will be a facility made of inflatable modules. Also, the Pentagon wants to build its own small Station for the Space Force.