Would A Catastrophic Air Leak Knock The Space Station Out Of Orbit?

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Is it possible to lower the perigee of the space station by decompressing the station through the forward air lock? No, but let’s take the opportunity to talk about other cold-gas propulsion systems.

  1. Bretzels Empire

    Could the ‘sls’ or the 1960’s proposed ‘nova’ be made reusable ???

  2. Loschen in Motion

    420 tons hmmmm

  3. Chareme Ortiz

    Guys earth isn’t flat the moon landings weren’t faked

  4. Yürüyen Ansiklopedi

    1:48 YOU WHAT?

  5. Hat Kid

    Now let Elon musk hear this to prevent flying cars

  6. Alain Martel

    The Kerbal’s EVA suit must use hydrazine or pure peroxide. More power, but way more dangerous.

  7. timeshifter08

    Actually they’ll have unpressing concerns……

  8. Cabitonic

    Some interesting side notes out of the fire safety industry:
    On the ISS they used, Halon and CO² fire extinguishers. Both not the best solution in space, so they developed high pressure water mist fire extinguishers. They hold 6 lbs and have a starting pressure of 1.270 psi.
    Link to a a nice presentation:
    And the detail report from NASA:

  9. Skippy the Magnificent

    But it will knock the crew out of life.

  10. rebel zockt

    In ksp they would use Flurin

  11. Aaron Everett

    I didn’t know they did untethered space walks until this video. That’s absolutely nutty, balls of steel.

  12. matttelz

    Love the vid on thrusters. One thing that always confuses me with spacex is why the cg thrusters are still active when the booster is in the process of landing. Surely they have next to no thrust capability near sea-level compared to the grid fins…

  13. randomdoodification

    Man i got halfway through and the kid walked in and made me start over so we could do the “Scott Manley” back n forth impersonation. Here i thought I could sneak one in and she hears your voice and bam…. i gotta restart the video lol

  14. Kyouhyung Kim

    There’s no way to escape the pressure in the space; crew will still be under a lot of pressure even if the Space Station doesn’t have any.

  15. Lieutenant McBubbles

    You should do more Galileo conquest

  16. Apollo Reinard

    @0:58 Mice in the crew are part of the equation. :) Did they bring mousetraps in case they get out or will they have to improvise? Remember the tribble problem.

  17. Guðmundur Ingi Guðmundsson

    Not so much as a sneeze would. 10 second burn on a tiny thruster id guess

  18. RC Hobbyist Extreme

    With the case of the Borg, it only took a good wack from a Batlif to move someone, just ask Worf.

  19. Ben

    What if people get shot threw the airlock by the compressed gas… Surely this will improve the delta V…

  20. PsychoLucario

    what if you used skylab? it had all that pressurized volume

  21. jimmy jones

    Divide by 420. My kind of maths

  22. Vincent Fischer

    420 shouldn’t divide, it should unite

  23. I am THE ZUCC

    Please make a livestream gameplay of Kerbal space program someday

  24. Greg Ewing

    Inflatable habitat? I’m not sure I’d like to trust my life to a big space balloon.

  25. Lancer2204

    6:07 Given it’s KSP probably something like a RFNA/aniline combo… :P

  26. Richard Hauer

    I am pretty sure you can’t get faster than 1.4 m/s with a nozzle (2:26), since you already assumed perfect efficiency beforehand and the nozzle just helps reach a gas exhaust at thermal velocity instead of an uselessly expanding gas cloud.

  27. Onesimo Galvao

    The crew will have more DECOMpressing concerns

  28. Matt Bland

    This now makes me wonder if the Ares decelerating in the Martian is in any way realistic given the specific impulse and the volume/mass of the ship. I guess movie physics are very forgiving.

  29. Poofer

    I would like to think that NASA or other space agencies at some point explored this scenario.

  30. Rob Plutonium

    Also interesting to imagine decompression that results in a spin of the station, perhaps end over end, and how fast that would have to be to tear itself apart by centripetal forces.

  31. trm

    3:09 and thats why we use hydrazine, my friend

  32. Thin White Duke

    JFK: Man needs to land on the moon before the decade is over
    *Man lands on moon in 1969*
    I think NASA needs to have someone give a challenge like that again.

  33. PowderMonk

    That’s why I subbed to this channel, to get answers to question I never thought of, but during the video I wonder why I never thought of.

  34. Canadian Man

    Catastrophic port failure would use the astronauts as fuel, ejecting them at breakneck speed.

  35. Chareme Ortiz

    Guys earth isn’t flat the moon landings weren’t faked

  36. John Hasty

    I don’t know if it would but I will watch your video to find out. 👍🏻

  37. Gabriel Smolnycki

    Curious why you used the kinetic theory of gas to estimate a velocity here. This seems like, honestly, a useless number in this scenario. That’s the random motion of the individual gas molecules, not related to the overall flow velocity really at all. This can essentially be modeled as flow through an orifice, and that means that the maximum speed is going to be closer to Mach 1 at STP or 343m/s. However, the actual flow velocity (assuming a constant 14.7psi input pressure – it will decrease as the ISS bleeds out of course) through a 3ft orifice (probably a bit small but this will give a HIGHER velocity) is closer to 136m/s. So a Delta-V of 1*136/420 = 0.32m/s.
    None of this disproves your point, as a matter of fact it only strengthens it. But the kinetic theory is not the right approach here.

  38. mirko predur

    a new perspective also on the scene in space of Wall-e, now perfectly scientifically accurate

  39. -666- Hellboy

    love your videos man, 420 xD

  40. evas xyz

    With videos like Scott’s you can forgive all the carp and vomit that youtube is filled with.
    Thank you Scott and keep uploading.

  41. Darth MacLeod

    4:19. “6 kilograms of force”?!?

  42. Nathan Holt

    6:10 vastly more dangerous?
    Sounds like business as usual for kerbals.

  43. Dylan Watts

    Kerbals use hypergolic jet packs XD

  44. rocketsocks

    (this comment is only for people with positronic brains)

  45. Not A Pro Pro

    Is this a new captain disillusion? owo

  46. indylovelace

    I always appreciate your inquisitive mind and helping to fill my brain with more useless trivia! 👍🏽


    Any chance we could get Scott to explain why we can’t see the vapour ‘puffs’ from RCS thrusters on the Apolo Lunar Lander video footage?

  48. James Salsman

    Indirectly, if it weren’t easy to repair. I have no confidence in any nations’ will to keep it if it has an actual catastrophe of any substantial sort.

  49. HighFlyer

    Engineer at JSC chiming in: Correct, a rapid depress will NOT de-orbit station however it WILL saturate the CMG’s and can cause a loss of attitude control emergency (LoAC) and this is a scenario that is trained in flight controller sims regularly.

  50. DSS 72

    Ive always thought about that, what if you woke up one morning to hear this happened. How would it affect the space industry as a whole? Youd have politicians immediately wanting to slash space exploration and the very grim prospect of having to go up there and try to salvage anything.. I sure hope they inspect that thing, its getting dated now..

  51. dfgiuy22

    Kind of like expecting a Taco Bell ‘shart’ to knock me over after a good night on the grog!
    I guess not.

  52. thundercactus

    I’m so happy you mentioned the isp of the fire extinguisher because it’s the one thing I was REALLY curious about lol

  53. polygondwanaland

    That seems really specific, are you planning something Mr Manley?

  54. Kyle O'Leary

    they actually did EVAs without tethers!?

  55. Cliff Hartle

    But what if the volume was all Plushy toys and those were expelled? :)

  56. Tom George

    Where is the centre of mass of the ISS?
    Unless you apply the gas escape force through the centre of mass, most of the force will be used in causing a roll/yaw of the ISS.
    Roll/yaw involves a whole new set of physics/mechanics.
    What is the structural strength of the ISS, if you look at it as a system of interconnected beams?
    If all that “massive” gas force was applied at the very end of the ISS, would it bend due to its mass, inertia as it applies a torque?

  57. Younes Layachi

    Perfect timing, just watched it a few days ago !
    Very scientifically inaccurate film

  58. Adam Lane

    Wait a minute, the ISS is open cycle. Couldn’t this be used for station keeping?

  59. MCMLXV

    Divide by 420.
    Easy… got it.
    I love this kind of math. I wish you had been my teacher in high school.

  60. Caldwell Transport Columbus, GA

    A depressurization event wouldn’t cause a direct deorbit for reasons Scott went thru in the video, but it would cause the eventual deorbit and destruction of the station because attempts to maintain stability would likely exceed the onboard propellant and torque-limit of any attached Soyuz. This would cause a gradual decay in the station’s orbit and lead to its reentry.
    Any crew who survived would conduct an immediate evacuation via Soyuz. The internal systems and equipment which were never designed to be exposed to vacuum will likely be wrecked. So it will be a total loss. So if ground controllers did managed to maintain some maneuver control over the station (unlikely), they would probably choose to just use whatever DV they have left to try to bring it down in the Indian Ocean graveyard.

  61. Passionately Ambivalent

    I love your videos. Aren’t your ‘cabin air’ and ‘cabin return’ reversed at 1:00?
    (might be a stock photo… but isn’t it still inaccurate?)

  62. TiagoTiago

    Could they use it to avoid colliding with another space station that is in a collision course? How much time would they have before the collision to take action with this much delta-V?

  63. T René

    Well, the Kerbals are a bunch of brave souls!

  64. Cole Smith

    I don’t know if “pressing” is how I would describe the crew’s concerns….

  65. Enigmatic Zebra

    Did you just call Sandra Bullock 70 Kg??

  66. PsychoLucario

    big question, why would they have a class A fire extinguisher on the ISS when electrical and chemical fires use a class D?

  67. Robert Steinbeiss

    Did you consider any leaking oxygen, air tanks on the station with higher pressures for the sake of argument?

  68. llAntimatterll

    I don’t think the crew would have any concerns after depressurization. Like, ever again.

  69. Jeremy Kiahsobyk

    “But the crew will probably have more pressing concerns if that happens.”
    Excuse me, sir, but surely you mean “DECOMPRESSING” concerns…? XD

  70. Markle2k

    TIL Hydrogen cold gas thrusters have a theoretically higher specific impulse than SRBs, hydrazine monoprop, and about the same as MMH/N2O4

  71. Matthew Suffidy

    Looking at it in another way, a space station has the momentum still in it that was the product of the entire launch burn…

  72. El Burro Peligroso

    Can you do a video on the SABRE Rocket Jet?

  73. [I.B.]-=ViRUS=-

    the gas couldn’t escape hole in space station faster than about 0.9 Mach.

  74. Pasu suel

    hey, budd.
    shorter outro’s r better.
    youtube search engine will promote your video’s more if they are watched 100%.
    so, if people close the video, 5 seconds before the end … you get less recommendations.

  75. N S

    There has been a “documented“ case in which a fully AI-controlled automaton used a fire extinguisher to move around in space: Wall-E!!!

  76. Stragemque

    disappointed wall-e wasn’t used as an example of a fire extinguisher scene.

  77. TheNasaDude

    The KSP jetpack uses Kerbin dioxide as a propellant.

  78. Stephen Irwin

    There’s a good reason Scott Manley is approaching a million subscribers! Keep up the great work!

  79. creator generator

    The fire extinguisher CO2 may get off one or two blasts if it started at 20C, but the gas expansion and space environment may cause it’s temp. to drop below -38C quickly and then it would freeze.

  80. Klaus Gartenstiel

    so you need to increase the compression of the fire extinguisher by a factor of 140 to get to orbit.
    somebody call mythbusters.

  81. moonasha

    yo scott just want to say, past week or two you’ve been making some great videos. It shows in your view counts too

  82. Jason

    I remember coming here to watch Kerbal videos.

  83. Anvilshock

    “Decompressing the station … the crew will have … more pressing concerns.” – Hehe. *Pressing* concerns.

  84. Dr. Bread

    Would a catastrophic air leak knock the space station out of orbit?
    “Noue! I’m Scott Manley! Fly safe.”

  85. Durai karthikeyan

    Yes!!! You actually made it! ♥️ Thank you Scott.

  86. Trydar

    air leaks are no joke, the same thing happened to planet spaceball 😵

  87. John

    Have you watched the episode “Helping Hand” from “Love, Death & Robots”
    What about “a hand”?
    How many DV do you think could be generated, by throwing a hand, and the entire upper arm?

  88. Fraser

    I doubt the airlock’s on axis, meaning you’d probably get the thing spinning, meaning you wouldn’t really get a strong net fource in any one direction even if you had enough delta v.

  89. battlekruiser

    “You wouldn’t want to deorbit in a Sokol suit” – Scott Manley, 2019

  90. Peter Houle

    and this, space friends, is why Taco Bell is not allowed on the ISS

  91. Ben K

    but, you *can* de-orbit the ISS simply by doing nothing.

  92. Nazamroth

    “Fly Safe”, he says, *after* telling me that I *can* get around my space station with a fire extinguisher…..

  93. randy marsh

    Any chance you were gonna do a video on the SABRE engine that was just given a greenlight for testing in colorado?

  94. Cody'sLab

    I’ve wondered this ever since reading the Martian.

  95. Krzysztof Szyszka

    I don’t think the crew would have very *pressing* concerns after decompression…

  96. injustice fellow

    420 depressurize it

  97. Random Martian

    When i read the title i almost thought something really bad happened at ISS

  98. Brian Cox

    “sitting around and not dying.” Sounds like an ideal Sunday afternoon.

  99. mezsh

    If I remember correctly, in the Pixar movie “Wall-E”, Wall-E uses a fire extuiguisher to rescue himself from space, well before “Gravity”.

  100. Jerry Rupprecht

    Plushy toys? I’m sorry but there are no such things on the ISS, only zero G indicators.

Comments are closed.