Cosmos. Dispute between NASA and Roscosmos. The Russians accuse the American astronaut of sabotage – nach Welt

The Russian investigation of the hole, which was discovered in 2018 while docking with the International Space Station on the Russian Soyuz probe, has ended. The Russians say the American astronaut Serena Aunon-Cancellor was behind the mistake and accuse her of sabotage. NASA rejects these allegations.

In August 2018, NASA’s ground control detected a slight drop in pressure at the International Space Station. It turned out that the reason for the decompression was a two-millimeter hole in one of the walls of the Russian Soyuz probe, which was then docked with the ISS. Crew members temporarily patched the hole with epoxy.


Russian hole investigation

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has opened an investigation into the matter. Now, more than three years after the incident, Roskosmos told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the results of the investigation into the mysterious break-in of the ship had been forwarded to the Russian prosecutor, reports US Newsweek. “All results of the investigation of the hole in the housing module of the Soyuz spacecraft MS-09 were handed over to the law enforcement authorities,” reported the Russian space agency, quoted by “Newsweek”. Further details were not given.

The American research portal Ars Technica points out that although the hole ultimately did not pose a direct threat to the crew of the International Space Station, its discovery endangered Roscosmos. According to the magazine, the investigations initiated by the Russian authorities quickly ruled out that the disruption was caused by a micrometeorite impact. Some Russian media speculated that the hole was due to a manufacturing defect in the ship. In the course of time, the American NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Cancellor, who flew to the ISS in June 2018 on board the aforementioned Soyuz MS-09, was carefully examined. The Russian news agency TASS reported for the first time that an American is being blamed by the Russians for the appearance of the hole.

Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin told Russian media in 2019 that the agency “takes all theories into account”. – The one about the meteor impact was denied because the shell of the spacecraft was obviously damaged from the inside. However, it is too early to judge what happened – he said. – This (the hole – ed.) Was made by human hands. There are drill marks on the wall surface. We are not ruling out any scenario, said Rogozin.

Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked on the ISSNASA

NASA is defending its astronaut

As “Newsweek” recalls, the then NASA boss Jim Bridenstine promised in 2019 to speak personally with the boss of Roscosom about the investigation of the Russians. The Russian space agency had previously announced that it would not make the details of the investigation public.

Bridenstine raised the case at a press conference in Houston in September 2019. – (Russians – ed.) You haven’t told me anything. I don’t want one thing to negatively affect our relationship, but it is obviously unacceptable that there are holes on the International Space Station – said the then head of NASA.

The allegations against Aunon-Cancellor were raised in August of this year by Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s space division. “NASA astronauts, including Serena Aunon-Cancellor, are highly regarded, serve their country and make an invaluable contribution to the agency,” she wrote on Twitter. “We stand behind Serena and her professional behavior. We do not believe in these allegations ”- she emphasized.

The current head of NASA, Bill Nelson, also defended the American astronaut. – These attacks are fake and lack credibility. I fully support Serena and all of our astronauts, assured Nelson Ars Technica.

The beginning of the end of the Russian-American space cooperation?

Newsweek writes, reports appeared last month that Russians were considering prosecuting an American for damaging a spaceship after Russia conducted an anti-satellite weapons test in space that destroyed an old Russian satellite. The cloud of debris that formed after the satellite was destroyed was about to collide with the International Space Station (ISS) and forced the people working there to evacuate in escape pods.

Given its long and rich history of manned spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia could threaten not only American and international astronauts on the ISS, but its own cosmonauts as well. The actions of the (Russians – editor’s note) are ruthless and dangerous, they also threaten the Chinese space station – said the head of NASA after the incident.

As “Newsweek” emphasizes, the long-term Russian-American cooperation within the International Space Station could be coming to an end. In June of this year, the head of Roscosmos announced that the “aging of the ISS” and the increasing cost of its maintenance could lead Russia to end its participation in the project as early as 2025, recalls “Newsweek”.

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