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ISS leak: Investigators can't rule out sabotage


Posted on Friday, 7 September, 2018 | Comment icon 47 comments

Could someone on the station have drilled the hole deliberately ? Image Credit: NASA
Russian authorities are working to determine if a rogue astronaut may have intentionally drilled the hole.
When a reduction in cabin pressure lead to the discovery of a small leak in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked at the International Space Station last week, it was initially assumed that a micrometeorite impact was to blame.

An investigation however later revealed that the hole had been made by a drill, suggesting that someone had accidentally damaged the capsule during construction and had tried to cover it up.

But what if it wasn't an accident ? What if someone had drilled the hole deliberately ?

According to Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, there had actually been "several attempts at drilling" the hole by someone with a "wavering hand".

"What is this: a production defect or some premeditated actions?" he said. "We are checking the Earth version. But there is another version that we do not rule out: deliberate interference in space."

The idea that someone may have tried to sabotage the spacecraft is troubling enough, but the possibility that one of the astronauts was responsible is particularly disturbing.

"If a cosmonaut pulled this strange stunt - and that can't be ruled out - it's really bad," said Russian MP and former cosmonaut Maxim Surayev. "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."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (47)

Tags: ISS, Leak

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #38 Posted by Merc14 on 7 September, 2018, 23:56
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 #39 Posted by pallidin on 8 September, 2018, 2:16
I thought I heard that the Russians now know exactly who did this.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Merc14 on 8 September, 2018, 2:27
That would be news to me. Was it in production or in orbit?
Comment icon #41 Posted by pallidin on 8 September, 2018, 2:30
Yeah, I can't seem to find the reference anymore. My bad.
Comment icon #42 Posted by Merc14 on 8 September, 2018, 2:32
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 #43 Posted by toast on 8 September, 2018, 6:05
Comment icon #44 Posted by ChrLzs on 10 September, 2018, 4:08
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... https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/09/russian-space-chief-vows-to-find-full-name-of-technician-who-caused-iss-leak/
Comment icon #45 Posted by toast on 10 September, 2018, 7:28
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 #46 Posted by ChrLzs on 10 September, 2018, 21:18
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 #47 Posted by toast on 10 September, 2018, 21:46
Welcome to the club, Im 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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