The Russian space agency Roscosmos has reported that the oxygen supply system of the Zvezda module of the International Space Station (ISS) is no longer operational. There is no danger to the astronauts as the life support system in the US Orbital Segment (USOS) continued to function well, guaranteeing the safety of the six occupants of the space station.
"Nothing threatens the security of the crew and the ISS," Roscosmos spokesperson told AFP.
The ISS will mark its 20th anniversary of human habitation on November 2 and some of its components are showing their age. The Zvezda module was launched in July 2000 and its two decades of continuous use are having an effect.
Veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, the record holder for the most time spent in space, shared his concern with the RIA Novosti news agency. He believes that most of the module components were designed to last for 15 years, and they are now in their 20s.
Roscomos stated that the repairs have begun immediately. They also shared new information about the tiny air leak that has plagued the station for a while, although it was only confirmed this summer. The location of the leak has been found and the space agency will soon advise the astronauts on what to do about it.
It has been an eventful year for the space station. From the coming and going of the crew, including the first crew launched with a commercial vehicle from the United States, to avoiding space junk three times.
There are no firm plans yet for the future of the space station. The orbiting lab is expected to continue operation until 2024, but there are negotiations underway to extend its operation until later this decade.