Drill hole was not made by crew members, says NASA
The space agency hits out at Russian suggestion ISS crew could have been to blame for a breach in the Soyuz spacecraft
A NASA astronaut has blasted a Russian official’s suggestion that crew members of Expedition 56 caused an air leak on the International Space Station. The expedition’s commander, Drew Feustal, spoke out after Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s federal space agency, said a hole found in the wall of the docked Soyuz spacecraft had been made by a drill.
“I can unequivocally say that the crew had nothing do with this,” Feustel told ABC News following a Russian-led investigation. “I think it’s absolutely a shame and somewhat embarrassing that anybody is wasting any time talking about something that the crew was involved in.”
Rogozin, who until recently was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, had claimed that the hole – which caused a small drop in pressure on 29 August – was due to a “faltering hand”. He had gone on to say that it was either done intentionally or by accident “either on Earth or in space”, raising the suspicion that one of the crew was responsible.
Given there were three NASA astronauts, a European and two Russian cosmonauts on board, the finger was seen to be pointing at the Americans. The crew located the leak to a two-millimetre hole on 30 August and quickly used gauze and epoxy to patch it. Feustel said the crew had followed emergency procedures and reacted appropriately, but Rogozin pointed to marks nearby which suggested a drill had slipped.
“I hope the teams and the investigators on the ground are going to do proper due diligence in trying to solve this problem, because the implications are enormous to the whole space program,” said Feustel.
The drill hole in the Soyuz spacecraft which Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, said was “done by a human hand – there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface.”