NASA skeptical on sabotage theory after mystery ISS leak
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 3, 2018
NASA expressed doubts Wednesday over a theory floated in Russia that a tiny hole that caused an air leak on the International Space Station was the result of sabotage.
The breach detected on August 29-30 in a Russian space craft docked at the orbiting station was not the result of a manufacturing defect, according to the Russian space agency, which says it is investigating the possibility that it was drilled maliciously.
But NASA, the US space agency, countered in a statement that ruling out defects "does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent."
Russian space agency Roscosmos immediately launched an investigation into the hole, and its chief official Dmitry Rogozin went on television days later to say it could have been the result of foul play either back on Earth or by astronauts in space.
"Where it was made will be established by a second commission, which is at work now," said Rogozin, a former Russian deputy prime minister who was placed under US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis in 2014.
The Russian daily Kommersant reported that an investigation at home was probing the possibility that US astronauts deliberately drilled the hole in order to get a sick colleague sent back home -- something Russian officials later denied.
"NASA and Roscosmos are both investigating the incident to determine the cause," NASA said on Wednesday.
ISS astronauts are planning a spacewalk in November to gather more information on the hole, which was quickly sealed.
An astronaut and cosmonaut are due to travel to the ISS on October 11 aboard a Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine plans to meet Rogozin - their first in-person encounter -- when he attends the launch.
The six-person ISS crew includes two Russians, two Americans and a German representing the European Space Agency.
Russia finds ISS hole made deliberately: space chief
A first commission had delivered its report, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, said in televised remarks late Monday.
"It concluded that a manufacturing defect had been ruled out which is important to establish the truth."
Rogozin said the commission's main line of inquiry was that the hole had been drilled deliberately, a position that has been voiced in the past.
"Where it was made will be established by a second commission, which is at work now," he said.
The small hole in the wall of a Russian-made Soyuz space capsule docked onto the ISS was located in August and quickly sealed up.
Officials have suggested a number of possible reasons for the appearance of the hole.
A top government official has denied a Russian media report that the investigation looked at the possibility that US astronauts had drilled the hole in order to get a sick colleague sent back to Earth.
The current ISS commander, US astronaut Drew Feustel, called the suggestion that the crew was somehow involved "embarrassing".
Rogozin -- who previously oversaw the space industry as deputy prime minister -- was appointed head of Roskosmos last May, in a move analysts said would spell trouble for the embattled sector.
The official, who was placed under US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis in 2014, admitted it had become difficult to work with NASA.
"Problems with NASA have certainly appeared but not through the fault of NASA," he said, blaming unnamed American officials for telling the US space agency what to do.
He also claimed that SpaceX founder Elon Musk sought to squeeze Russia out of the space launch services market and complained about the US military drone X-37.
"Americans have this thing, the X-37," Rogozin said. "We don't understand its purposes. Rather, we do understand, but we have not received an official explanation.
"Essentially, this thing can be used as a weapons carrier."
Russia finds ISS hole made deliberately: space chief
Moscow (AFP) Oct 2, 2018
Russian investigators looking into the origin of a hole that caused an oxygen leak on the International Space Station have said it was caused deliberately, the space agency chief said. A first commission had delivered its report, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, said in televised remarks late Monday. "It concluded that a manufacturing defect had been ruled out which is important to establish the truth." Rogozin said the commission's main line of inquiry was tha ... read more
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