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  ISS 56: Pressurization leak on space station

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Author Topic:   ISS 56: Pressurization leak on space station
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2018 06:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
About 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday (Aug. 29), International Space Station flight controllers in Houston and Moscow began seeing signs of a minute pressure leak in the complex.

As flight controllers monitored their data, the decision was made to allow the Expedition 56 crew to sleep since they were in no danger. When the crew was awakened at its normal hour this morning, flight controllers at Mission Control in Houston and at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow began working procedures to try to determine the location of the leak.

The six crew members, station commander Drew Feustel, flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, gathered in the Russian segment of the station and, after extensive checks, reported that the leak appears to be on the Russian side of the orbital outpost.

Program officials and flight controllers are continuing to monitor the situation as the crew works through its troubleshooting procedures.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2018 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
The crew aboard the International Space Station is conducting troubleshooting and repair work today after the discovery of a tiny leak last night traced to the Russian segment of the orbital complex.

The leak, which was detected Wednesday night by flight controllers as the Expedition 56 crew slept, resulted in a small loss of cabin pressure. Flight controllers determined there was no immediate danger to the crew overnight. Upon waking at their normal hour, the crew’s first task was to work with flight controllers at Mission Control in Houston and at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow to locate the source of the leak.

The leak has been isolated to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment, or upper section, of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft attached to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment. This is a section of the Soyuz that does not return to Earth.

The rate of the leak was slowed this morning through the temporary application of Kapton tape at the leak site. Flight controllers are working with the crew to develop a more comprehensive long-term repair.

Once the patching is complete, additional leak checks will be performed. All station systems are stable, and the crew is in no danger as the work to develop a long-term repair continues.

David C
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posted 08-30-2018 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MMOD strike?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2018 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A micrometeoroid strike is the leading suspected cause, though the crew has yet to find evidence of it on the exterior of the Soyuz (observing from the Cupola). The hole was also not a through and through; according to the crew, it terminated about 2.5 centimeters into the bulkhead, so the origin is not yet known, as noted in this latest NASA update:
The International Space Station’s cabin pressure is holding steady after the Expedition 56 crew conducted repair work on one of two Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the complex. The repair was made to address a leak that had caused a minor reduction of station pressure.

After a morning of investigations, the crew reported that the leak was isolated to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment, or upper section, of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft attached to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment of the station.

Flight controllers at their respective Mission Control centers in Houston and Moscow worked together with the crew to effect a repair option in which Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos used epoxy on a gauze wipe to plug the hole identified as the leak source. As the teams were discussing options, flight controllers in Moscow performed a partial increase of the station’s atmosphere using the ISS Progress 70 cargo ship’s oxygen supply. Flight controllers in Houston are continuing to monitor station’s cabin pressure in the wake of the repair.

Meanwhile, Roscosmos has convened a commission to conduct further analysis of the possible cause of the leak.

Throughout the day, the crew was never in any danger, and was told no further action was contemplated for the remainder of the day. Flight controllers will monitor the pressure trends overnight.

All station systems are stable and the crew is planning to return to its regular schedule of work on Friday.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 08-30-2018 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do they have an extra Soyuz to launch to replace the leaking one, assuming that the hole is not common to all Soyuz?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2018 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The hole is in the orbital module, which is jettisoned before re-entry (only the descent module returns to Earth), so a replacement Soyuz is not needed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-31-2018 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video stills:

MCroft04
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posted 08-31-2018 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been reading about this impact and suddenly it struck me (pun intended) that it couldn't be a meteorite that struck the Soyuz, unless it hopped off the Earth's surface and then hit the Soyuz. Neither was it a meteor. I believe it was a meteoroid.

I know I'm being picky.

David C
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posted 08-31-2018 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lucky it didn't hit the descent module, although I think that would have been a more robust target, probably not hard enough. They don't do exterior inspections of these things prior to leaving the ISS (and I guess the insulation blankets would make that difficult).

I wonder how much work has been done on hull or heatshield damage that does not result in full penetration?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-31-2018 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
I believe it was a meteoroid.
Good point, Mel. I have corrected my post above.

But I'll also point out that we don't know if the leak began as a result of an impact from the outside. During the crew's inspection, Alexander Gerst described the hole as appearing to originate from inside the Soyuz.

So perhaps it was not a micrometeroid impact, but instead due to some other type of damage or defect. Roscosmos (and presumably Energia) is investigating, but it may be that we never know the answer as priority was given to permanently sealing the leak rather than probing it further.

oly
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posted 09-01-2018 02:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is not sufficient resolution in these images to do an accurate armchair investigation, and we do not know what work needed to be done to gain access to the defect site. The area looks to have scratch or scrape marks surrounding the hole and 2 marks on the bend radius of the Z profile frame, almost like some sharp object has been struck from the inside.

Moreover, it has a striking resemblance to looking like someone slipped while drilling a hole during construction or maintenance, but such things should have been revealed during quality inspections.

Hopefully there are more detailed images that will enable a better evaluation. How long has this vehicle been docked on station?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-01-2018 05:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Soyuz MS-09 docked to the Rassvet module on June 8, 2018.

GACspaceguy
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posted 09-02-2018 05:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oly:
Moreover, it has a striking resemblance to looking like someone slipped while drilling
I would agree now that I take a closer look, those marks beside the hole look like drill chuck chatter marks. It maybe that a thin layer of material or even external paint/insulation finally let loose announcing itself to the crew.

Jonnyed
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posted 09-02-2018 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonnyed   Click Here to Email Jonnyed     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow. Time to launch someone from the NASA Inspector General's Office to the ISS (only half-joking).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-03-2018 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
RIA Novosti, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that the hole in the Soyuz MS-09 orbital module was drilled in error on the ground and then incorrectly repaired to hide the mistake during pre-flight pressurization tests.

Google translation from Russian:

"The reason for the appearance of a hole in the inner case of the domestic compartment of the Soyuz MS-09 ship has been installed on the Earth. He was responsible for negligence," the source said.

According to another source, the employee, most likely, after he realized the error, sealed the crack with special glue, so it was not detected during the test of the spacecraft on the tightness before launching and did not make itself felt the first two months of the orbital flight.

"However, in the future, the glue dried and was squeezed out, opening the hole," said the second interlocutor.

David C
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posted 09-03-2018 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So armchair incident investigation works! I'm reminded of the deviation that caused the Soyuz 1 parachute failure.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-03-2018 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin has confirmed that a micrometeroid impact has been ruled out, but says all other theories are in play.
"We are considering all the theories. The one about a meteorite impact has been rejected because the spaceship’s hull was evidently impacted from inside. However it is too early to say definitely what happened. But, it seems to be done by a faltering hand… it is a technological error by a specialist. It was done by a human hand - there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface. We don’t reject any theories," he said.

"It is a matter of honor for Energia Rocket and Space Corporation to find the one responsible for that, to find out whether it was an accidental defect or a deliberate spoilage and where it was done - either on Earth or in space. Now it is essential to see the reason, to learn the name of the one responsible for that. And we will find out, without fail," he pledged.

oly
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posted 09-03-2018 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While the existence of such a defect is disturbing, and will no doubt lead to much debate and finger pointing, the statement that this may have been done in space is worrying and also a plot line for a future movie. I don't think this that this will be the last we see about this subject.

David C
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posted 09-04-2018 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oly:
...may have been done in space
Suspect that's for public consumption, no stone left unturned and all that. Highly doubt it's the case.

oly
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posted 09-04-2018 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, My point was that such a statement seems like a sharp stone to cast, it immediately casts an accusation at the crew.

David C
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posted 09-04-2018 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah I get that, and would open up some foreign relations questions too, if they were serious.

Greggy_D
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posted 09-04-2018 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the dark mark in the third picture above?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-04-2018 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That I believe is the epoxy the crew applied to seal the hole.

india-mike
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posted 09-04-2018 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for india-mike   Click Here to Email india-mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's correct. It's epoxy that is applied together with a piece of glass fibre to seal the hole.

When you scale up the third picture, you notice a little bit of the glass fibre matrix.

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-04-2018 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some pretty serious accusations if you read between the lines.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-05-2018 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Roscosmos statement (machine translated from Russian)
Roscosmos requests that media representatives refrain from publishing unverified information received from anonymous sources on the results of the work of the commission for investigation of an abnormal situation that arose on board the transport manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-09, which is part of the International Space Station.

The work of the commission will be completed in mid-September, its findings will be submitted to the State Corporation Roscosmos, then measures will be defined to prevent such situations. Roscosmos emphasizes that references to so-called "sources in the rocket and space industry" reporting various "versions" of the investigation are a way of manipulating information and influencing the work of the commission's representatives.

Roscosmos recommends that Russian and foreign media refrain from publishing various versions referring to anonymous sources before the commission's conclusion.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-10-2018 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though in Russian, this video posted by Roscosmos on Facebook includes Expedition 56 flight engineer Sergei Prokopyev showing where in the Soyuz the leak was, how it was found and how it was repaired.
"Friends, I decided to shoot a video to answer your numerous comments and dispel rumors. Everything is calm on the ISS!"

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2018 07:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interfax provided a partial translation of the above video:
"As you can see, everything is calm on board. We're coexisting peacefully and amicably as always, experiments are being conducted in a routine mode. Our colleagues are preparing for another spacewalk, in which I act as a supporting operator. Our joint international expedition is operating in a calm and friendly environment."

He showed the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft's habitation module, where an air leak had been detected in late August.

"As you can see, we stay here feely without out spacesuits, no one is plugging the hole with their finger, as media had claimed. After the non-pressurized module was detected at the station, we and colleagues established that the leak is in the habitation module of Soyuz MS-09, which is under my command, and proceeded to finding out the place of the leak using an ultrasound device."

Having found the precise location of the leak of two millimeters in diameter, the cosmonauts applied one coat of a specialized certified two-component sealing compound over it and the second and third coats the next day.

"The habitation module is fully leak-proof now and we can work," Prokopyev said at the end of his video message posted on his VKontakte account.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2018 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Drew Feustel flatly denied the space station's crew caused the leak in an interview with ABC News.
"I can unequivocally say that the crew had nothing to do with this on orbit, without a doubt, and I think it's actually a shame and somewhat embarrassing that anybody is wasting any time talking about something that the crew was involved in," Feustel said in a space-to-ground interview with ABC News Tuesday.

"The only thing the crew did was react appropriately, follow our emergency procedures, eventually locate that leak and plugged the hole," he said. "In doing so, we assured the continued operation of the space station, we ensured the ability of our crew all to remain on orbit and continue doing the great work that we do ... on the International Space Station."

...Feustel said discovering the leak "was certainly a shock to all of us."

"My hope is that the investigations really do discover what occurred that caused this clearly man-made hole in the side of the spacecraft," he told ABC News.

"That's going to be a story we're going to hear about for some time to come," he said. "We certainly don't want to ever see that happen again, and I hope the teams on the ground do proper due diligence in trying to solve this problem because the implications are enormous to the whole space program, not only to us in the U.S. but also in Russia and internationally for all the partners."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-13-2018 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA, Roscosmos Statement on International Space Station Leak

The following is a joint statement from NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos about the investigation into a pressure leak on the International Space Station Aug. 29-30:

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin met for the first time yesterday via teleconference to discuss the status of International Space Station (ISS) operations in response to a request from Roscosmos.

"As part of their discussion, Dmitry Rogozin informed his American counterpart about Roscosmos' decision to establish a Roscosmos-led Commission to investigate the cause of the leak in the Soyuz (MS-09/55S) spacecraft currently docked to the station.

"The Administrator and the General Director noted speculations circulating in the media regarding the possible cause of the incident and agreed on deferring any preliminary conclusions and providing any explanations until the final investigation has been completed.

"They affirmed the necessity of further close interaction between NASA and Roscosmos technical teams in identifying and eliminating cause of the leak, as well as continuation of normal ISS operations and NASA's ongoing support of the Roscosmos-led Soyuz investigation. They acknowledged the entire crew is dedicated to the safe operation of the station and all docked spacecraft to ensure mission success.

"The Administrator and the Roscosmos General Director agreed to conduct their first face-to-face meeting at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on or about Oct. 10 when the NASA Administrator will visit Russia and Kazakhstan in conjunction with the upcoming Soyuz crew spacecraft launch of American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexy Ovchinin."

MCroft04
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posted 10-02-2018 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just saw an article on the internet that claims the hole was deliberate sabotage. Can someone substantiate this claim?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-03-2018 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA issued the following statement today (Oct. 3) in response the media reports citing sabotage:
Russian media recently reported that General Director Rogozin said the hole was not a manufacturing defect. Ruling out a manufacturing defect indicates that this is an isolated issue which does not categorically affect future production.

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 International Space Station Program is tentatively planning a spacewalk in November to gather more information.

On October 11, American Astronaut Nick Hague and Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will launch to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Administrator Bridenstine is scheduled to attend the launch and plans to meet with Mr. Rogozin. This will be their first in-person meeting. They had a telephone call on September 12 during which they discussed the International Space Station leak.

Fra Mauro
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posted 10-03-2018 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
People should be careful about what they imply before the investigation is concluded. NASA's statement is appropriate along those lines.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-08-2018 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A Russian spacewalk scheduled for Dec. 11 will look for any exterior damage in relation to the now patched pressurization leak on Soyuz MS-09. From NASA:
Expedition 57 flight engineers Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos will use this spacewalk to examine a section of the external hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft currently docked to the space station. In late August, a pressure leak occurred on the space station that was traced to the Soyuz. Within hours after finding the source of the leak, the Expedition 56 crew sealed the hole and the station has since maintained a steady pressure.

The cosmonauts will take samples of any residue found on the hull and take digital images of the area before placing a new thermal blanket over it. The samples and images will provide additional information that will aid the investigation into the cause of the pressure leak. The cosmonauts also will retrieve science experiments from Rassvet before heading back inside.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-11-2018 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev completed a 7 hour, 45 minute spacewalk today (Dec. 11) to expose and inspect the hole in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that caused the pressurization leak in August. They collected samples of the epoxy that had been applied from inside the space station to return to Earth for analysis.
"That is exactly the hole we’ve been looking for," reported Kononenko after peeling back more of the foil insulation and metal layers that were hiding it.

The hole appeared as a black mark or spot on the exposed metal skin of the Soyuz spacecraft.

LM-12
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posted 12-13-2018 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where on the ISS were the other four Expedition crewmembers located during the Dec. 11 EVA?

Don't the non-EVA crewmembers usually move to their Soyuz spacecraft during an EVA in case something goes wrong?

waa49
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posted 12-14-2018 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for waa49   Click Here to Email waa49     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gerst and Aunon-Chancellor were in Zarya, MRM1, USOS. McClain and Saint-Jacques isolated in MRM2 (Poisk).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-24-2018 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sergei Prokopyev, now back on Earth, has said that the hole in Soyuz MS-09's orbital compartment was drilled from the inside and Russian law enforcement agencies are investigating what caused it.
Prokopyev said at a news conference the cavity started from the capsule's interior and "it's up to the investigative organs to judge when that hole was made."

...Prokopyev scoffed at the idea the hole could have been drilled by an astronaut, saying, "You shouldn’t think so badly of our crew."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-25-2019 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russian cosmonauts will conduct an extra experiment aboard the International Space Station to find the causes of a hole in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday (March 25).
"The samples collected on the ISS are insufficient for final conclusions. Apparently, additional experiments in orbit will be required," Rogozin said.
No details were given about the nature of the cosmonauts' planned experiment.

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