Russian Federation to end USA space station rides in April, pressuring NASA

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After receiving word from NASA that the International Space Station was very slowly leaking air, Gerst and five other astronauts starting scouring all over for the source.

The International Space Station's cabin pressure is holding steady after the Expedition 56 crew conducted fix work on one of two Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the complex. It's believed to be in the most recent Soyuz capsule docked at the space station.

How much danger were the crew in?

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NASA said that after several hours of investigations on Thursday, the crew was able to isolate the leak to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the upper section of the spacecraft.

According to a new update from NASA, a series of "extensive checks" by the crew eventually resulted in the issue being found on the orbital outpost on the Russian side. Flight controllers at NASA Mission Control Center in Houston worked with their Russian counterparts to enable the repairs.

In 2007, another leak occurred in the station's Harmony module in the U.S. section but officials said at the time the leak was no cause for concern.

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Yesterday night International Space Station mission control noticed a pressure reduction. It sounds alarming, but flight controllers say the astronauts aren't in any immediate danger. Astronauts were asleep at the time and woke up to a less than optimal air pressure level in the ISS and were immediately sent searching for the leak.

Russian Federation is expected to provide rides for astronauts through November 2019, which is the planned return date for a Soyuz capsule from the space station, according to a July report to Congress from the Government Accountability Office. Flight controllers have partially replenished the atmosphere in the station by using the oxygen supply from a Russian cargo capsule.

NASA said: "Flight controllers will monitor pressure trends overnight".

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A tiny meteorite or orbital debris hitting the space station is the likely cause.