Russia threatens to criminally charge NASA astronauts for ‘drilling holes in spacecraft’ incidents

Russia threatens to criminally charge NASA astronauts for ‘drilling holes in spacecraft’ incidents


2021-12-06 02:21:09

Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) says it has completed an investigation into a “hole” found in the Soyuz spacecraft when it docked at the International Space Station in 2018.

Not only that, a representative of Roscosmos told the newspaper RIA Novosti of Russia that it has sent the results of the investigation to law enforcement officials. Roscosmos said: “All findings related to the vulnerability in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft’s residence module have been forwarded to law enforcement officials.”. No further details are provided.

In Russia, when the results of such an investigation are sent to law enforcement, it means allowing Russian officials to decide whether to initiate a criminal case, and this also like issuing an indictment.

An image of the vulnerability on Soyuz MS-09 docked at the International Space Station in 2018.

Although no astronauts were in danger, the incident in August 2018 confused Russian space officials. At that time, a 2 mm hole was detected in the orbiting module of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft as it docked to the International Space Station. Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor flew to the Soyuz inner station in June.

If left unchecked, this small hole will depressurize the station within just two weeks. However, the astronauts patched the hole with epoxy, and the Soyuz spacecraft brought all three astronauts back to Earth safely.

Who did that?

But since then, the focus of the story has revolved around what – or who – may have caused the hole. An attack by space junk was soon ruled out. Some Russian media reported that this vulnerability was due to a manufacturing or testing error, and this is believed to be the most plausible hypothesis. At the same time, however, sources within the Russian government had begun to leak rumors, saying that perhaps NASA’s “disgruntled female astronaut” had drilled the hole.

Russia’s state news agency, TASS, escalated the issue in April of this year, when it published an allegation that Auñón-Chancellor suffered “an acute psychological crisis” after suffering a seizure. deep vein thrombosis in space. This is why she drilled these holes, in an effort to expedite their early return to Earth.

NASA denied the allegations at the time.

Russia threatened to criminally charge NASA astronauts for the incident of 'drilling a hole in a spacecraft' - Photo 2.

The crew of Soyuz MS-09 (Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor) aboard the International Space Station in 2018.

But now, with the announcement that the investigation is complete, Russian officials have come up with another conspiracy theory. In the article of RIA Novosti, this publication cites reports that female NASA astronaut Auñón-Chancellor may have drilled the hole. “due to stress following an unsuccessful romantic relationship with another crew member.”

NASA, once again, strongly asserts that its attacks on female astronauts are unfounded.

“These attacks are untrue and unreliable,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said. “I fully support Serena and will stand behind all of our astronauts.”

Russian provocation

According to NASA, these personal attacks are actually the wrong thing to do. The Houston-based agency was able to immediately determine that pressure began to drop on the space station in late August 2018. NASA also knew the exact locations of American astronauts on the station before the crash. the leak occurs – as well as at the time it started.

None of the American astronauts on the station were near the Russian area where the Soyuz vehicle docked. American officials shared this data with the Russians at the time.

Russia threatened to criminally charge NASA astronauts for the incident of 'drilling a hole in a spacecraft' - Photo 3.

NASA has just had to cancel a spacewalk due to fear of debris from a Russian satellite.

And this latest provocation from Russia has angered NASA officials and the cosmonaut office. Meanwhile, on November 15, the Russian military shot down its own satellite in a test, an act that forced the space station astronauts to take shelter inside the spacecraft. their station for more than 2 hours because of concerns about debris. A spacewalk planned for the morning of November 30 was also postponed at the last minute due to similar concerns.

The United States and Russia have been more or less friendly partners in the space sector for the past three decades. However, this space alliance seems to be disintegrating, with tensions gradually exacerbated by Russia’s recent inexplicable provocations.

The head of Russia’s space sector, Dmitry Rogozin, will meet in person with Bill Nelson next year in Russia. Perhaps then, Mr. Rogozin will give satisfactory answers to the recent strange and aggressive actions.

Refer arstechnica


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