When a hole was discovered in an attached module of the International Space Station (ISS) in August, the crew quickly fixed it. However, since then, there have been various theories as to how the hole got there. Now, it is believed that the hole was the result of a botched repair job and not sabotage.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the hole was located inside a Russian-made Soyuz capsule, a spacecraft used for transporting astronauts to and from the space station. At the time it was established that the hole was drilled from inside the vessel and there was the concern from some that perhaps it was a sabotage attempt.
However, now this theory has been dismissed by an astronaut who was a commander of the International Space Station. Instead, he blames the manufacturing process for the hole. According to the Telegraph, he believes that it was the “fault of a botched repair job subsequently covered up by construction or maintenance crews on the ground.”
“It was pretty clear in my opinion [that it was] not the crew springing a leak,” German astronaut Alexander Gerst said on Tuesday, according to Newsweek.
“That was just a few misunderstandings that they had out there. It’s still pretty obvious that it was a man-made hole in the hull. In that case, the hole was there and it was just covered by a little glue, so the question is how did it get there?”
NASA has also blamed the hole on a manufacturing defect.
Russian engineers say a small now-plugged leak in a Soyuz crew ferry ship docked to the International Space Station was the result of a hole drilled into the wall of the spacecraft’s upper compartment, an apparent case of human error. https://t.co/RgLZpk9bU2 pic.twitter.com/tmAK04HG1w
— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) September 4, 2018
With the hole detected, and the subsequent leakage of air that it was causing, NASA waited until the astronauts on board had woken up before alerting them to the situation, according to Gerst, who was on board at the time.
“When we woke up, mission control told us, ‘Hey we were tracking a small leak.’ They were basically telling us, ‘We’re seeing this and it’s nothing to worry about yet’ because we would have enough air on board for several days before it got critical. They nevertheless said we should check out where this hole is.”
While it appeared there was little concern for the small leak, Gerst was aware that, in a different situation, things might have been much worse.
“As an astronaut, you think ‘Well, what would have happened if it broke loose a little bit earlier, when we were traveling to the space station, when you only have a very small volume of air in that spacecraft?'” he said. “Even though the hole was small in that case it would have been more severe for us.”