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  1. ITV Report

Take a 3D tour of the International Space Station as row breaks out over 'deliberate' air leak

An air leak on the International Space Station has been repaired but Russia believes the hole was caused by 'an unsteady hand'. Credit: Nasa

This ITV News 3D graphic takes you on a tour of the International Space Shuttle, giving an insight into how the intricate parts on this technically and politically ambitious orbiting station fit together.

The revealing model comes as Russia's space chief said a small hole detected on a Russian Soyuz module docked on the ISS last week could have been drilled deliberately, either back on Earth or by astronauts in space.

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The ITV News 3D graphic takes you on a tour of the ISS, allowing you to click on the model to take you through the different sections, including the 'tranquillity mode' (9) which acts as a docking point for visiting vehicles.

This is likely to have been the area where the Russia space craft was docked during its stopover on the ISS.

Astronauts used tape to seal the leak after the hole caused a small loss of pressure that was not life-threatening.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the hole was drilled by “an unsteady hand” but did not say if he suspected one of the astronauts.

Three Americans, two Russians and a German are currently aboard the station.

Russian Soyuz MS-09 crew craft, left, attached to the International Space Station Credit: AP/Nasa

The International Space Station is an incredible feat in many ways.

In technological terms it is a giant leap for mankind. But politically it is perhaps even more ambitious, with five space agencies - United States, Europe, Japan, Russia and Canada encompassing 17 countries, involved in its construction and maintenance.

US astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor, centre, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and German astronaut Alexander Gerst. Credit: AP

While in previous decades space agencies competed with each other, the ISS was one of the first times countries worked together with a shared goal. Each space agency involved with the station contributed to its construction, with various different components being delivered over the years, starting in 1998.

The station acts as a hub for the international scientific research community and brings together crews from all over the world.

The way construction works is similar to the way Lego bricks connect to one another. A component is sent up to space from different countries and is 'mated' to the station when it reaches orbit.

Each component serves a different purpose and each space agency is responsible for managing and running the hardware it provides.

Take a look at the above graphic to see the function of each aspect of the International Space Station.