NASA Rejected Russia's Proposal to Jointly Probe Hole in Soyuz

Pablo Tucker
December 14, 2018

Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev will conduct a spacewalk to investigate the outside of the Soyuz MS-09, which suffered a pressure leak caused by a small hole back in August.

The module, built by Russian company Energia, arrived at the International Space Station in June and has been the subject of a galactic detective mystery ever since.

The spacewalkers' job was to collect samples of any epoxy sealant that may have protruded from the hole.

Photos of the hole from inside the spacecraft circulated online.

Initially thought to be the result of a micrometeorite impact, subsequent investigation revealed it to be man made, and Russian Federation launched a full investigation to determine where and when it was created.

The hole caused speculation about sabotage in Russian media, The New York Times reported Monday, but NASA and Roscosmos held off on elaborating further until the investigation is completed.

He said recently that the Russian official probe is ongoing and some of the station's crew who are set to come back to Earth on December 20 will take the samples that are collected during the spacewalk. There are traces of a drill sliding along the surface.

Beginning at about 11 a.m. EST, cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev started what was supposed to be a six-hour-long spacewalk to examine the external hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, which is used to transport astronauts to and from Earth.

In September, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's civilian space agency Roscosmos, said that a production defect was possible but "deliberate interference" had not been ruled out. It was the eighth spacewalk this year. To do so, they had to cut a 10-inch (25 centimeters) sample of the the thermal insulation and debris shield on the hull. Also they took samples of material. The task wasn't easy.

"The active participation of worldwide partners, primarily NASA, in the investigation is not expected, although we have called for a joint investigation and been ready to provide available materials: photos, videos, documents, samples of materials taken during the spacewalk", the source said. They hope that the evidence collected during this spacewalk will finally solve the mystery of what created the hole. The crew quickly located and sealed the tiny hole that created a slight loss of pressure, and space officials said the station has remained safe to operate.

The Soyuz spacecraft will be used to return astronauts Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor to Earth in eight days.

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