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Space & Astronomy

Leak on ISS was 'drilled from the inside'

By T.K. Randall
September 4, 2018 · Comment icon 43 comments

Who was responsible for drilling the hole and why ? Image Credit: NASA
Russian investigators now believe that the hole in the ISS was created from the inside, not from the outside.
Originally thought to have been the result of a meteorite impact, the tiny hole was discovered last week after flight controllers picked up an unexplained drop in cabin pressure.

The leak turned out to be aboard the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that is currently docked at the station.

While the astronauts were able to successfully seal off the hole with tape, worrying evidence has since been found suggesting that a small space rock might not have been responsible after all.

Instead, according to a special commission set up by Russia's space agency Roscosmos, the hole appears to have been made from the inside of the capsule using a drill.
"We are considering all the theories," said Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. "The one about a meteorite impact has been rejected because the ship's hull was evidently impacted from inside."

"It was done by a human hand - there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface."

"It is a matter of honor for Energia Rocket and Space Corporation to find the one responsible for that, to find out whether it was an accidental defect or a deliberate spoilage and where it was done - either on Earth or in space."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (43)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #34 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
There are several other countries involved with the ISS and no single country has been accused of anything so not a very effective campaign to sow discord.
Comment icon #35 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
I thought I heard that the Russians now know exactly who did this.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
That would be news to me.  Was it in production or in orbit?
Comment icon #37 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
Yeah, I can't seem to find the reference anymore. My bad.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
No worries, I just hadn't heard anything.  I suspect someone screwed up on the production line and covered it up but pure speculation on my part, nothing more.
Comment icon #39 Posted by toast 4 years ago
Comment icon #40 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
Yes, it appears to be a fault caused by an employee of the company that makes the Soyuz, Energia - although they still don't know for sure who.  It seems the Russian manufacturer is having some problems with quality control...  With equipment in space, a lack of attention and sloppy attitudes like that can kill people...
Comment icon #41 Posted by toast 4 years ago
As per the article, there have been similar failures in the past already:   Of course but in a different way than expected IMHO. Its obvious that the manufacturer has a well designed QMS (Quality Management System) and I`m quite sure that the QM processes are subject to recurring revisions by, e.g., NASA, ESA and JAXA auditors. Means, the QMS and the documentations of the OEM`s QMS are as demanded. But everybody who knows how QM work, know the possible gab between the described QM processes in the QMS documentation/manual and the level of quality performed. Its also likely that the QMS has wel... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
Absolutely.  I've done a lot of project management, and if your priority is to blame, name and shame the person who made the initial error, then you have completely missed the point.  First up, what was the sequence of events that caused the person to do it - was their training insufficient, was there are a problem in how their task was designed or slotted amongst other tasks?  Did they not realise what environmental stresses that item will be subjected to, how important it was?  Were they fearful of repercussions of admitting a mistake?  Why didn't the person who checked their work, not spot ... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by toast 4 years ago
Welcome to the club, I´m 15 years in the QM business now. And the other space agencies as well and I`m sure that there is a lot of actions behind the curtains now. Some years ago I had the chance to participate to two ESA hardware reviews of technical/scientific equipment to be lifted to the ISS1 and I can tell you that these processes are fail-safe. One key requirement for these reviews is the participation of 2 astronauts who were on the ISS1 already because they can judge best if the equipment is well marked and packed to avoid loss of time and confusion during the transfer of the stuff fro... [More]

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