ORLANDO, Florida (WESH) — Space agency investigators are looking into the possibility that an air leak aboard the International Space Station was a deliberate act.
The head of the Russian Space Agency is vowing to find the person responsible, even if it was an astronaut.
Astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station were doing business as usual on Wednesday, but in the back of their minds must be thoughts of a hole in their little world.
A small hole, since plugged, allowed part of the space station’s air supply to escape last week.
The head of the Russian Space Agency is suggesting it was a deliberate act.
“What is this?” Dmitry Rogozin asked. “A production defect, or some premeditated action?”
Russian space engineers are sure the hole was made by a drill that penetrated, from the inside, the shell of a Soyuz space ship launched with a crew to the space station on June 6. Rogozin said it was done by a human hand. There are traces of a drill sliding along the surface. They said they are not rejecting any theories.
Investigators are retracing everything done to the Soyuz while on Earth, before launch.
Rogozin said they are checking the Earth version, but there is another version that they said they are not ruling out: deliberate interference in space.
The astronauts themselves have indicated they don’t know how the hole got there, and that to suggest they might have done it in space is to suggest they’d cut their own throats. But how was the leak noticed only last week, if the Soyuz craft was launched in June?
Said Rogozin, “It is a matter of honor … to find the one responsible for that, to find out whether it was an accidental defect or a deliberate spoilage.”
Investigators are looking into whether someone on the ground could have made the hole before launch, and applied an improvised patch, which then could have fallen off or gotten sucked out into space. Officials say the astronauts are not in any danger.