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Air Pessure Checks Continue on the ISS

    Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri 
used ultrasound leak detection equipment aboard the International Space 
Station today to try to detect the source of a tiny decay in air 
pressure which was first noted two weeks ago. The pressure on the ISS 
stabilized over the last 24 hours with no further decay detected by 
sensors and other atmospheric monitoring equipment, and Foale reported 
that he and Kaleri could not locate the origin of the minute pressure loss.

Meanwhile, Russian space officials formulated a commission of 
specialists today and identified the Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal 
system in the Zvezda Service Module as a potential candidate for the 
tiny pressure loss. Kaleri will perform a leak check on the Vozdukh on 
Friday, and if needed, it can be repaired or replaced with spare parts 
or an entire spare unit in a week or two. No further work to trouble 
shoot the pressure decay is planned tomorrow, which is the Russian 
Christmas, or Thursday.

The Vozdukh vents carbon dioxide into the vacuum of space through a 
series of valves and has a tendency to develop small leaks over the 
passage of time. An Elektron oxygen-generation unit in Zvezda which 
operates separately from Vozdukh failed last week and will be replaced 
by a spare component next week.

The crew, which is in no danger, discussed the issue today with Flight 
Director Derek Hassmann, and is pressing ahead with normal scientific 
research and other maintenance activities on board the orbital outpost. 
The ISS is operating in excellent shape with the slight pressure decay 
posing no concern.

In all, there is a half-year of oxygen available for use aboard the ISS, 
with additional oxygen being brought up on the next Russian Progress 
resupply vehicle, which is scheduled for launch Jan. 29.

In addition to the leak investigation Tuesday, Kaleri conducted a test 
of a communications system aboard the Station, and Foale recharged the 
ISSí defibrillator batteries. Kaleri participated in a session of a 
Russian cardiovascular evaluation. Kaleriís readings were taken as he 
exercised on a cycle ergometer. Foale, who celebrated a birthday 
Tuesday, assisted him.

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