The leak was actually first noticed in September 2019, however at the time the air loss was very slight and it wasn’t until recently that the issue became serious enough to warrant direct investigation.
Finding the location of a tiny leak on such a large orbital outpost however is no easy task.
Back in August, the US astronauts were forced to spend a few nights in the Russian segment of the station while NASA ground crews carried out an investigation into the issue, and while the mystery of the leak’s location was closer to being solved, it’s precise whereabouts still remained unknown.
Now though, at last, cosmonauts aboard the station have finally revealed that they have pinpointed the location of the elusive leak using a rather unconventional tool – a tea bag.
While they were not forthcoming in exactly how this may have helped them find the leak, reports indicate that they have since been working on a way to patch the hole.
Also, while this has been going on, Roscosmos has been attempting to deal with a failed oxygen supply system in the Russian part of the station.
Both problems are a sign of the age of the orbiting outpost – parts of which are now over 20 years old.
Sadly, issues such as these are likely to become more commonplace over the coming years.