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Space Station air leak repaired with help from floating tea leaves

Cosmonauts and astronauts aboard the International Space Station repaired an air leak after more than a year when cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin used the leaves from a tea bag to pinpoint the location of the leak. File Photo by NASA/UPI
Cosmonauts and astronauts aboard the International Space Station repaired an air leak after more than a year when cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin used the leaves from a tea bag to pinpoint the location of the leak. File Photo by NASA/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The crew of the International Space Station plugged a longstanding air leak after locating the source with the help of a tea bag.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said the station had been experiencing a mysterious air leak since September 2019, but the leak was minor enough that fixing it wasn't considered a priority until the leak rate increased in August.

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Roscosmos said the source of the leak was finally found when cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin broke open a tea bag, allowing leaves to float free in the transfer chamber of the Zvezda Service Module area of the station.

The crew sealed off the area and monitored the leaves on video cameras, noting that the tiny tea fragments were floating toward a scratch in the wall that was then confirmed to be the source of the leak.

The leak was patched Monday using Kapton tape.

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