NASA skeptical on sabotage theory after mystery ISS leak

October 3, 2018
NASA and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos "are both investigating the incident to determine the cause" of a small hole found on a Russian spacecraft attached to the International Space Station

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 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 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.

Explore further: Roscosmos and NASA chiefs discuss mysterious space leak

Related Stories

Space station reports 'leak', crew not in danger

August 30, 2018

The International Space Station crew on Thursday was repairing a small "leak" most likely caused by a collision with a small meteorite, the head of the Russian space agency said, adding the incident presented no danger.

Recommended for you

Researchers investigate the peculiar radio source IC 1531

October 17, 2018

An international team of researchers has investigated a peculiar extragalactic radio source known as IC 1531. The new study analyzes the nature of IC 1531's high-energy emission, suggesting that the source is a radio galaxy. ...

Astronomers find a cosmic Titan in the early universe

October 17, 2018

An international team of astronomers has discovered a titanic structure in the early Universe, just two billion years after the Big Bang. This galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive ...

Magnetic fields may be the key to black hole activity

October 17, 2018

Collimated jets provide astronomers with some of the most powerful evidence that a supermassive black hole lurks in the heart of most galaxies. Some of these black holes appear to be active, gobbling up material from their ...

Double dust ring test could spot migrating planets

October 17, 2018

New research by a team led by an astrophysicist at the University of Warwick has a way of finally telling whether newly forming planets are migrating within the disc of dust and gas that typically surrounds stars or whether ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.