NASA Confident Air Leak on Space Station Won't Affect Future Soyuz Capsules

international space station
The International Space Station as seen in orbit around Earth. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA has provided an update on the continuing investigation into a small air leak aboard the orbiting laboratory that astronauts patched on Aug. 30.

"Russian media recently reported that General Director Rogozin said the hole was not a manufacturing defect," the statement reads. "Ruling out a manufacturing defect indicates that this is an isolated issue which does not categorically affect future production."

Rogozin and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine are due to meet in person for the first time next week, a visit scheduled to coincide with the launch of cosmonaut Alexy Ovchinin and astronaut Nick Hague. The two leaders talked by video last month about the Russian investigation into the leak as well.

Today's NASA statement confirms that the investigation is ongoing, and that NASA is looking into the matter as well. "This conclusion does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent. NASA and Roscosmos are both investigating the incident to determine the cause," the statement continued. "The International Space Station Program is tentatively planning a spacewalk in November to gather more information."

The air leak was detected on Aug. 29 after a slight drop in pressure aboard the station, which was then traced to a 0.08-inch-wide (2 millimeters) hole in a Soyuz capsule that docked to the space station in June and will remain there until October. The hole was successfully patched, and because it is in a module that does not return to Earth, it will not impact the ability of astronauts to return in December.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.