NASA, Roscosmos Decline Comment on American ISS Sabotage Allegations

Alleged hole in the Soyuz capsule 1 photo
Photo: Twitter / Chris B / @NASASpaceflight
Heavy words were exchanged this past week between various Russian and American news outlets more or less involved in the joint operations on the International Space Station.
Although none of these organizations have spoken, at least officially, on behalf on NASA or Russian equivalent Roscosmos, the feud between the two nations prompted their respective space agencies to issue a joint statement.

At the center of all this conundrum is the tiny hole discovered in the Soyuz MS-09 capsule on August 30. Although not life-threatening, the hole caused some oxygen leak on the station and required some repairs to be made.

The battle of words began after Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency, said that the hole was not caused by a micrometeorite or debris impact, but was made from the inside with a drill. A photo that surfaced later – pictured above – seems to back his claims.

Rogozin did not directly accuse the Americans of having drilled the hole, saying the fault may lie on Earth, at Roscosmos, since the Soyuz is a Russian machine.

Most of the reports that caused anger this week appeared in Russia media and claimed the hole was drilled on purpose by an American astronaut so that a sick colleague could get a ride home faster. The absurdity of the report, coming to publications like Kommersant via unnamed sources, needs no further comment.

To get to the bottom of all this, Russia said it will investigate the incident. On Thursday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin issued a joint statement informing the world Russia will be leading a newly established commission tasked with finding the guilty parties.

As for the accusations thrown back and forth in the media, both the officials said they “noted speculations circulating in the media […] and agreed on deferring any preliminary conclusions and providing any explanations until the final investigation has been completed.

Also, the two said they would meet at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on or around October 10. At that date, another Soyuz spacecraft will be launching  American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexy Ovchinin to the ISS.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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