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Mir Leak May Be Linked to Locks

January 18, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ Two cosmonauts entered the leaky hatchway in the Mir space station on Sunday and may have found what is causing the oxygen to seep out, a Russian news agency said.

Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov detected some mechanical damage to two of the locks, said Interfax, citing Mission Control spokesman Vsevolod Latyshev.

They filmed the locks and transmitted the footage to ground controllers for analysis and a decision on how to proceed with repairs, the report said.

The leak in the hatchway on the Kvant-2 module is more inconvenient than serious, forcing the crew to use a smaller adjacent compartment to put on and take off their bulky suits for spacewalks.

During a spacewalk on Thursday, Solovyov and U.S. astronaut David Wolf tried to seal the hatch more tightly. They fastened the nine main locks and 10 additional locks.

They appear to have had some success in slowing the leak. On Sunday, the cosmonauts pumped oxygen into the chamber and entered it wearing their normal flight suits, Latyshev said.

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