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A gasket is a precisely formed body of some (yielding) material placed at a mating surface usually to prevent leakage. It may also be constructed of an alloy as was done in early IC engines.

Spacecraft work in a vacuum, typically with instruments, engine/s, and fuel/s. Anthropic habitats are restricted to

  • Spacesuits,
  • ISS,
  • Crew/resupply missions
  • Test flight

The loss of a craft to a faulty gasket would be quite the anti-climax given the figures usually bandied against mere construction/testing of the spacecraft, to say nothing of launch/deployment. It may be worse to have it happen to a habitat.

  • Has any mission to-date in orbit, or beyond suffered a damaged gasket?
    • Are gaskets even used in spacecraft?
    • What material are such gaskets constructed of?
  • What procedures are in place for damage control against such an event?
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I haven't done an exhaustive search, but I came across one example: Zond 6. This was an unmanned test of the Soyuz 7K-L1, a stripped-down version of the 7K-L3 design for a manned capsule for moon missions. Zond 6 carried turtles, fruit flies and various other biological samples to test the capsule's life support systems. It was sent on a free-return trajectory around the Moon.
During the return flight, a hatch seal failed, depressurizing the cabin and killing all life on board.

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