The Russians accuse the NASA astronaut of sabotaging the ISS. Great space brawl

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Russia is fed up with cooperation with the US in space? It focuses on a “national” project. [OKO NA ŚWIAT]

It is probably no secret that Russian-American relations are not the warmest. Until now, one of the very few spaces where the US and Russia have cooperated with each other has been the scientific activities of both countries in space. However, there are many indications that this international cooperation is just about to end.

The Russians accuse the NASA astronaut of sabotage in space

In August 2018, Russian cosmonauts from the International Space Station (ISS) detected a hole in one of the walls of the Soyuz MS-09 ship. The ship docked with the ISS in June 2018 and has been connected to the rest of the stations ever since. The 2 mm diameter hole that was found did not pose a threat (at that time), but it did cause a slight pressure drop. The cosmonauts quickly dealt with the problem by patching the hole with resin, but Roscosmos was not going to sweep the matter under the rug.

Soyuz vessel where damage was detected:

Russians at workRussians at work Photo Roscosmos

An investigation was launched to see who was responsible for all the fuss. The hole itself not only looked like it had been drilled with a drill, but there were also traces of damage in its vicinity, probably caused by the drill. To check this, the Russians even sent their cosmonauts for a walk. More about him in December 2018, our journalist Maciej Kucharczyk wrote:

In the last days of November, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti announced that Roskosmos had completed its three-year investigation and sent the results to the relevant law enforcement agencies so that they could take further steps. The investigation report has not been shown to the public. It was also noted that the results of the investigation could not be officially made available until the next authorities have completed their work. However, the mere fact that the results of the investigation were transferred to the Russian law enforcement agencies showed that the Russians discovered some irregularities.

However, the Russian media are talking much more about the case, information about which is also referred to by RIA Novosti. They say the investigation showed that American astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor was supposed to drill a hole due to a nervous breakdown after … an unsuccessful romance with one of the ISS astronauts.

Earlier this year, there were similar reports, but the reason for drilling the hole was supposed to be slightly different. In August, the central Russian news agency TASS, citing anonymous informants familiar with the investigation, reported that a NASA astronaut had drilled a hole in a Russian ship due to “acute mental crisis”. It was supposed to be caused by a thrombosis that the astronaut suffered from. TASS sources said Serena Aunon-Chancellor was trying to force a faster return to Earth.

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Russians at work.  You can see the cut hole in the coverRussians at work. You can see the cut hole in the cover Photo Roscosmos

There were also several indications that someone from NASA was responsible for the act of sabotage. According to the quoted informants from the agency, the traces on the ship’s wall indicate that the hole was drilled in microgravity conditions, and it was done by someone unfamiliar with the construction of the Soyuz spacecraft. Moreover, the nearby camera located at the junction of the American and Russian segments did not work at the time of the incident for unknown reasons, and the Americans were to refuse to hand over a polygraph to Russian cosmonauts.

Even earlier, some media reported that the opening in the ship’s wall and other damage could have been caused by a design defect committed at the production stage. It is possible that the opening became unsealed only after the ship was launched into space.

NASA denies the reports

The TASS reports in August were denied by NASA. Kathy Lueders, the head of the manned flight program, said she values ​​all NASA astronauts for their work, and the agency does not believe there is any truth to these reports.

NASA astronauts, including Serena Aunon-Cancellor, are highly regarded for serving their country and making an invaluable contribution to the agency. We stand behind Serena and her professional work. We do not believe these accusations are in any way credible

– wrote Kathy Lueders on Twitter. A moment later, NASA administrator Bill Nelson agreed with the position, adding that NASA would “fully support its astronauts.”

As reported by the American portal Ars Technica, after the November reports of RIA Novosti, NASA again denied that its astronaut had anything to do with the case. “These attacks are false and not credible,” said Bill Nelson, quoted by the portal.

Some US media say it is another rumor that Roscosmos is intentionally disseminating. Ars Technica also reports that NASA knew where its astronauts were at the time of the air leak caused by the opening. According to the agency, neither of them was near the Russian segment to which the Soyuz was moored and it is impossible for it to get there unnoticed.

The collaboration between Roscosmos and NASA is just falling apart

The brawl over the two-millimeter hole in the ISS is another proof that the cooperation between Russia and the US in space has been falling apart for some time. As a matter of fact, Roskosmos and the head of this agency, Dmitry Rogozin, have been making it clear for months that the stage of conflict-free cooperation between Russia and a dozen other countries (mainly Western) as part of the International Space Station should already be completed.

In April this year. Roskosmos has announced that it will perform a technical inspection of the station and consider ending or continuing its operations on the ISS after 2024. According to the Russian agency, the station is outdated and is struggling with an increasing number of faults. In fact, in recent years, Russian ISS modules have had several problems with microcracks through which air was escaping (in small amounts) into space. It is said that further investment in the ISS is said to be too costly.

Interestingly, less than a week after this statement, Roscosmos declared its willingness to build its own “national” space station, which could be built by 2030. Dmitry Rogozin also stated that “if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself”. It is unofficially said that Russia is ready to spend a trifle of $ 6 billion on this project.

Probably not without significance is the fact that the head of Roscosmos and at the same time the Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin is known for his nationalist and anti-Western views. So it is probably convenient for him to quickly end the cooperation with the Americans.

NASA outraged by the Russian test. “Unthinkable”

In recent times, Russia has also done an unprecedented thing (at least since the end of the Cold War). In mid-November, according to USA and Great Britain, Russians tested anti-satellite weapons by hitting their own satellite. The problem is that the thousands of space debris generated in this way headed towards the ISS.

Due to the risk of a collision of the fragments with the International Space Station, the entire crew (including Russian cosmonauts) had to take cover twice in capsules ready for evacuation. Americans talked about the scandal, and the head of NASA wrote that he was “outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action.” “It is inconceivable that Russia has threatened not only foreign astronauts but also its own cosmonauts on the ISS,” he said on Twitter.

On the other hand, the reaction of the Russian space agency was strange, as it did not seem to see anything wrong in triggering the threat. Roscosmos in a very laconic announcement stated that “the orbit of the object that forced the crew to transfer to the spacecraft today according to standard procedures has moved away from the orbit of the ISS.” The Russian agency has not admitted what the object is.

On December 1, Roscosmos, in a slightly different tone, shared on Twitter with the information that a fragment of the carrier rocket on December 3 would approach the ISS at 5.4 km (minimal zoom). The agency added that its specialists are monitoring the situation, but there is no need to perform evasive maneuvers. Interestingly, this time, however, the fact that it was about the American Pegasus rocket was not concealed.

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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