The leader of the current mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) rebounds against the suggestion that he or one of his crew members would have caused the recent air leak of the runway lab.
"I can say unequivocally that the crew had nothing to do with this," said NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, commanding ISS Expedition 56, during a space-to-ground interview with ABC News, reported Florida Today yesterday (September 11). ). "I think it is absolutely a shame and a bit embarrassing that everyone wastes every moment talking about something that the crew was involved in."
The leak story has turned quite a bit in recent weeks, so let's start at the beginning. [Russia’s Crewed Soyuz Space Capsule Explained (Infographic)]
On the night of August 29, ISS controllers noticed a slight pressure drop on the ground on board the outpost. They informed the crew the next day and the space pilots quickly followed the problem to a small hole in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that was attached to the revolving lab.
Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, the Soyuz commander, repaired the 2 millimeter (0.08 inch) hole with epoxy and gauze on August 30, apparently to solve the problem. The expedition 56 crew was never in danger, NASA officials have stressed.
Russian space officials quickly formed a commission to investigate the leak and its cause. And last week Dmitry Rogozin – the head of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos – announced that the breach in the Soyuz wall was a borehole. The person who made the hole apparently had "a faltering hand," Rogozin added, calling the nearby scraps that had probably occurred when the drill slips.
Rogozin further promised that officials would determine whether the hole was deliberately or accidentally drilled, "either on earth or in space."
It is this last piece – the implication that Expedition 56 crew members might be responsible – that apparently caused the fury of Feustel.
In his interview with ABC News, Feustel urged the ISS managers to find out exactly what happened, by saying that "the implications are huge for the entire space program". And he praised the crew of Expedition 56 for dealing with a difficult situation.
"I can not say enough about the performance of the crew, how we reacted, how we reacted, how we stayed together and continued to work as a team, just as we always do, for the safety of ourselves, the safety of the spacecraft. and the certainty of mission priorities, "said Feustel according to Florida Today.
The hole was in the upper "orbital module" of the Soyuz, which arrived at the ISS in June. The spacecraft is scheduled to leave the ISS in December, with Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón chancellor and astronaut from the European space agency Alexander Gerst returning to Earth. The gap should not be a problem during this return journey, officials from NASA have said. (Soyuz track modules are designed to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.)
Soyuz spacecraft were driven to and from a service by ISS crew members only because NASA withdrew its space shuttle fleet in 2011. Private space taxis developed by SpaceX and Boeing, however, must soon be ready to take on part of that responsibility; both vehicles are scheduled to start next year with manned test flights.