Space station leak could have been sabotage, Russian Federation says

Charles Simonyi

Charles Simonyi

A state commission will seek to identify the culprit by name, Rogozin said, calling this a "matter of honour" for Russia's Energiya space manufacturing company that made the Soyuz.

The 2mm wide hole in the ISS was initially thought to have been caused by a small meteorite crashing into the £115billion ISS.

NASA hasn't yet commented on what might have caused the 2-millimeter (0.08 inches) hole, which resulted in temporary and minor depressurization before astronauts successfully patched it on August 30.

That's because the hole was made from the inside of the spacecraft, and appears to have been made by a drill.

Speaking on Russian television, Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the country's space agency Roscosmos, said that investigations had already ruled out the meteorite strike theory.

But the story took a freaky turn on Monday when Dmitriy Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, alluded to possible sabotage - maybe even in space.

USA astronauts have to use Russian rockets to get to the ISS - something which has been put at risk by ongoing rows with the Kremlin.

"There were several attempts at drilling", Rogozin said late Monday in televised comments.

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"What is this, a production defect or some premeditated action?"

"We are checking the Earth version".

Rogozin said the space corporation will find out whether the fracture was the result of an accident or an act of "deliberate spoilage", and where it was done on Earth or in space.

A hot potato: Russian Federation has reason to believe that a leak discovered in its Soyuz spacecraft docked aboard the ISS was caused by human hands.

"If a cosmonaut pulled this unusual stunt - and that can't be ruled out - it's really bad", said Maxim Surayev of President Vladimir Putin's ruling party to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, according to the outlet.

If it was made on the ground, it seems the patched hole held for two months before the seal began to break.

It was not deemed serious enough to wake the crew, but the next morning the four astronauts and two cosmonauts making up Expedition 56 traced the leak to the upper module of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Russian Rassvet module.

"Flight controllers at their respective Mission Control centers in Houston and Moscow worked together with the crew to effect a fix option in which Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos used epoxy (a resin) on a gauze wipe to plug the hole identified as the leak source". The Soyuz will still be able to safely ferry astronauts home, as the hole is in a part of the module that does not survive re-entry, according to NASA.

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