The crew of the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) smelled burning plastic on board as fire and smoke alarms went off.

The incident, which the Russian space agency Roscosmos said happened at 01:55 GMT ahead of a scheduled spacewalk, has ignited safety concerns over conditions on the Russian segment.

The incident took place at 01:55 GMT on Thursday in the Russian-built Zvezda module as the station’s batteries were being recharged according to Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

“A smoke detector was triggered in the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station during automatic battery charging, and an alarm went off,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

The agency said that everything is now operating “normally” and that the crew went back to sleep after turning on an air filter that cleaned the air. It added that Russian astronauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov will go ahead with the six-hour spacewalk scheduled for Thursday to integrate the Russian-built Nauka science lab.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said they could “smell” burning “plastic or electronic equipment” in the US segment of the station, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a NASA broadcast.

The Zvezda service module, part of the Russian segment, has already experienced several air leaks and in July this year, the entire ISS tilted out of orbit after the Nauka module’s thrusters reignited several hours after docking.

In August, a space official warned that out-of-date software could lead to “irreparable failures.”

Concerns about the old software prompted Russia to indicate plans to launch its own orbital station and leave the ISS after 2025.

From : pk.mashable.com

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