A thorough Russian investigation of a leak that occurred in August in the orbital module of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is attached to the International Space Station, will not be completed until November. But this week, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos reignited controversy about the leak with some comments during a television appearance.
A preliminary investigation, according to Russia’s chief spaceflight official, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, “concluded that a manufacturing defect had been ruled out which is important to establish the truth.” So if it wasn’t a manufacturing defect, then what was it? As Rogozin did not say, this re-fueled speculation in some media reports that the hole was intentionally drilled by NASA astronauts in space. This theory is nonsensical, but it appears to play well to Russian audiences.
After these latest comments and with an imminent Soyuz spacecraft launch on October 11 that will carry NASA astronaut Nick Hague to the International Space Station, the US space agency felt the need to put out a new statement on Wednesday. It reads: