Russian cosmonauts removed part of micrometeorite protection of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft’s hull and discovered the external part of the hole, reports the Russian Mission Control Center (MCC), where the Russian cosmonauts’ spacewalk was broadcast.
The hole, discovered back in Augusts is believed to have been deliberately created by someone from the inside.
Two Russian cosmonauts have ventured outside the International Space Station in a six-hour-long spacewalk to inspect a part of a Russian spacecraft where a mysterious hole was spotted.
The hole was identified on 30th August in the Russian Soyuz craft which is attached to the International Space Station.
At first, Mission control beleived that the leak was caused by the impact of a small meteorite.
The ‘microfracture’ believed to be around 2mm wide was spotted after astronauts noticed a sudden drop in pressure causing air from inside to slowly rush out of the space station. To temporarily fix the issue, astronauts used ‘tape‘ to seal and contain the leak.
During the six-hour spacewalk, cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokopyev investigated the craft, took samples of the damaged part, and confirmed the hole was under control, and the spacecraft could be used again.
The rare spacewalk which was broadcasted for more than five hours showed the two astronauts attempting to cut through an insulated part of the space vehicle with a knife.
Eventually, they discovered the external part of the hole, which was discovered back in August in the capsule’s internal covering.
They also took samples of the exterior insulation for further investigation.
The Cosmonauts also took pictures of the damaged part of the space station that could help investigators solve the mystery as to how the hole was created in the first place.
After working outside the space station for nearly six hours, a voice from the control center told the astronauts to return inside the space station: “It is time to go home.”
The damage to the Soyuz vehicles is believed to have been made from inside, as opposed to outside, and was not created by the impact of a meteorite. Roscosmos, the Russian space agency claimed that the hole was deliberately made either back on Earth or even in Space.
This leads to serious questions as to who would want the Soyuz program to fail while risking the lives of all astronauts on the International Space Station.
While it still remains an enigma as to how the hole was created, an unnamed source at Energia told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that “the hole was made on the ground.”
Furthermore, according to the same source, “the person responsible for the act of negligence has been identified.”