The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, is searching for answers after one of its modules on the International Space Station sprang a coolant leak, adding to the list of mechanical issues the space agency has grappled with in low-Earth orbit over the past year.
Roscosmos said Monday in a notice posted to the messaging site Telegram that the coolant leak affected a radiator circuit on the Nauka module, which is located on the Russian-controlled segment of the ISS.
The Nauka module was added to the space station in July 2021, but the leak occurred on an external, backup radiator that was delivered to the ISS on a space shuttle mission in 2010, according to NASA.
“The main thermal control circuit of the module operates normally and provides comfortable conditions in the living area of the module,” according to a translated version of the message. “The crew and the station are not in danger.”
In an update Monday afternoon, NASA said space agency officials in Houston “observed flakes emanating from one of two radiators” on the Nauka module at 1 p.m. ET.
“The flight control team informed the crew aboard the space station of the potential leak, and NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli confirmed the presence of the flakes from the cupola windows, after which the crew was asked to close the shutters on U.S. segment windows as a precaution against contamination,” according to the NASA update.
NASA reiterated that the primary radiator is functioning normally, the ISS crew is not in danger, and ground teams will continue to assess the issue.
It was not immediately clear what caused the leak.