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

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

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.”

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