Fire and smoke alarms sounded on a Russian segment of the International Space Station early Thursday as the smell of burnt plastic drifted into the US section. Russian space agency Roscosmos described an issue in the Zvezda module, which houses living quarters and has lately been dealing with an air leak, that apparently occurred as the space station's batteries were being recharged. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said "the smell of burning plastic or electronic equipment" reached the US segment of the station, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a NASA broadcast, per AFP.
Roscosmos said the two cosmonauts on board, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, activated an air filter that returned the air quality to normal before returning to "night rest," per the AP. "All systems are operating normally," the agency added. The issue, the latest to affect the aging space station, occurred only hours before the cosmonauts are to embark on a six-hour space walk to prepare the Nauka module for operations following its troublesome arrival in July. It ended up blasting the space station out of position in an incident Russian officials attributed to a software failure. Roscosmos said the space walk would go ahead as planned. Live coverage is to begin at 10:30am ET. (Read more International Space Station stories.)