"The flexible hose will link two drainage systems inside the window, one of them opening into outer space," said NASA PR co-ordinator in Russia Sergei Puzanov. The leaking hose, called vacuum jumper, was responsible for the falling air pressure inside the station. Crew commander Michael Foale found the place of the leak with the help of a portable ultrasonic device last Sunday. On Monday he and his Russian colleague Alexander Kaleri removed the hose and placed a hermetic cap in its place.
Air pressure has stabilised in the station but Destiny will be sealed off for nearly two days to check it for leakage. Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri will close the hatches in the morning of Saturday January 17 and open them only in the evening of Sunday January 18. 090 (kon/sm)