Russian officials are pointing at sabotage as a potential cause of an air leak on the International Space Station, says a new report by NBC News. The small hole was initially believed to have been caused by a meteorite. Further investigation shows that it may have been intentionally drilled.
A former cosmonaut, Maxim Surayev, raised the idea that an astronaut could have sabotaged the Soyuz ship in an attempt to force the ship to return home. "We are checking the Earth version. But there is another version that we do not rule out: deliberate interference in space," he said.
"We're all human, and anyone might want to go home, but this method is really low," Surayev told a Russian state news agency. "I wish to God that this is a production defect, although that's very sad, too -- there's been nothing like this in the history of Soyuz ships." During his career as a cosmonaut, Surayev visited the ISS twice.
In interviews with the Russian news outlet Tass last week, Rogozin theorized that the hole may have been caused by an "accidental defect" that occurred while the spacecraft was being built, or a "deliberate spoilage." He noted that the hole could have happened either before the spacecraft was launched or afterwards.
A report by Russia Today quotes a source from Energia, the manufacturer of the spacecraft, as saying that a worker accidentally drilled the hole and patched it without reporting their error. After several months, the patch could have been dried out and dislodged by air pressure.
As reported previously in the Inquisitr, monitors on the ground in both the US and Russia reported a drop in cabin pressure on the ISS on August 29. A six-member crew identified the 2mm tear on Thursday. The perforation in the Soyuz MS-09 capsule, which was docked with the space station, was patched in a joint effort by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and German astronaut Alexander Gerst. Gerst later tweeted his appreciation for the teamwork involved, saying they were able to deal with the emergency "thanks to great cooperation between the crew and control centres on several continents."
While further investigation happens on Earth, the Expedition 56 team "resumed a regular schedule" last week. According to NASA, the repair is holding and cabin pressure is at normal levels.There are currently three NASA astronauts, two cosmonauts and one German astronaut on board the ISS.