Why the alarm sounded on the International Space Station

The smell of smoke and burning plastic woke up astronauts along with an alarm. What happened on the International Space Station.

The ISS, a.k.a. the International Space Station, never ceases to make people talk. Just before the day of commemoration of the attacks of September 11, 2001, CNN recalled the story of Chandler Keller, the victim of the attacks who realized in retrospect, thanks to NASA, the dream of going into space.

The headlines were also occupied by what happened, in orbit, on the occasion of the docking of the Russian module, which allegedly shook the whole structure in an operation that would not be conducted with a light hand. For their part, the Russians have accused an astronaut from the American space agency of sabotaging the Russian module, adding a new angle to a thriller that looks like a continuation of the Cold War in space. The latest news, in terms of time, concerns the alarm system with which the ISS is equipped, which would have been activated unexpectedly on Thursday, September 9, 2021.

Why on the ISS did the alarm go off

What was the reason that caused the trigger? It's quickly said: the news comes from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, according to which Russian cosmonauts woke up to the smell of smoke and burning plastic.

The alarm was located in the Zvezda service module, part of the Russian orbital segment of the ISS, around 5 a.m. Moscow time. There do not appear to have been any disastrous consequences: the mishap occurred in conjunction with the recharging of a battery. The discomfort seems to have been more of a bad smell, which the astronauts sent away by activating the air purification system.

What the Russians are doing on the ISS

The Russians are on the International Space Station to set up the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. "All systems are functioning normally, air composition on board the station corresponds to standard indicators. The crew continues regular training for today's spacewalk," Roscosmos confirmed.

This could just be a sign of the age of the ISS, which was not built to stay: sooner or later, at least according to what was envisioned when the project was conceived, we will have to part with this object that has struck our imagination so vividly. It is to all intents and purposes a temporary structure. And the umpteenth inconvenience only reminds us of it.

Giuseppe Giordano