NASA Rejected Russia's Proposal to Jointly Probe Hole in Soyuz
14 December, 2018, 12:56 | Author: Emmett Howard
"Honestly I can't look at that", cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev says, as voiced by a translator, while fellow cosmonaut Oleg Kononenkoslices into the side of the Soyuz MS-09 capsule. While not an immediate risk, they investigated and found a hole on the inside of the Soyuz habitation module, which is now docked at the space station.
The extravehicular activity (EVA) was the 213th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance in the 20-year history of the space station.
The Soyuz capsule had been used to deliver a new crew to the laboratory 400km (250 miles) above the Earth in June.
Astronauts were unsure how the hole got there but plugged it using a bit of cloth and epoxy sealant.
The discovery of the hole was followed in October by the failure of a manned Soyuz launch, although the Russian and USA astronauts returned safely to Earth. At first, it was thought that a micrometeorite may have collided with the craft.
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. This led to speculation that perhaps someone purposefully created the hole, sparking rumors of sabotage.
Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokopyev will perform a six-hour spacewalk to inspect the exterior of the Soyuz, taking samples of the insulation covering the hole from the outside.
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.
To expose the external hull, they cut away a 10-inch (25-centimeter) swatch of thermal insulation and debris shield. They hope that the evidence collected during this spacewalk will finally solve the mystery of what created the hole.
Roscosmos space agency said the aim was to discover whether the "small but dangerous" hole had been made on Earth or in space.
Samples taken by the two cosmonauts will eventually be returned to Earth for investigations to be completed to find the possible cause of the hole.
The discovery of the hole was followed in October by the failure of a manned Soyuz launch, although the Russian and USA astronauts returned safely to Earth.
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