Russian astronauts have discovered new cracks in a segment of the International Space Station (ISS) that could expand, a space official said Monday, the latest in a series of setbacks.
“Surface cracks were found in some places on the Zarya module,” said Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer of the Russian aerospace company Energia, told the RIA. “This is bad and suggests that the cracks will spread over time.”
He did not say whether the cracks caused air leaks.
The space officer previously said that much of the ISS equipment is starting to age and warned that after 2025 there could be an “avalanche” of broken equipment.
The space station has suffered several incidents recently. Russian officials said last month that a software glitch and possible human error were responsible for ripping the ISS out of control.
A few hours after docking, the jet engines of the Russian Nauka research module were accidentally re-ignited, causing the entire orbital outpost with seven crew members on board to emerge from its normal flight position.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos also reported last month that a pressure drop on the Zvezda service module, which houses the crew members on the ISS, was caused by an air leak.
The Russian space agency has announced that it will remain part of the ISS until 2024 and is open to extending its membership beyond that date.