Watch Moment Astronauts Cut Through Docked ISS Spaceship to Investigate Mystery Hole

They used a 'space knife' and massive scissors.

Two cosmonauts performed a spacewalk for seven hours and 45 minutes to inspect a mysterious hole in the Soyuz spaceship, which is docked on the International Space Station.

The hole as seen from outside the spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA TV.
The hole as seen from outside the spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA TV.

To make their way to spot the miniature damage, they used tools such as a knife and large scissors.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said the goal was to discover if the “small but dangerous” hole discovered had been made on Earth or in space.

The two-millimeter cavity in the Soyuz spaceship docked in the ISS caused an air leak in August, two months after the ship’s last voyage.

Until Tuesday, the astronauts had only been able to examine the hole from inside the spacecraft.

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The whole as seen from inside the spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos / NASA
The whole as seen from inside the spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos / NASA

But to understand how the hole was made, the astronauts needed to remove the outer protective layer of the Soyuz spaceship in order to take a look at it.

During the spacewalk, veteran cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokopyev had a hard time trying to reach the miniature cavity, but eventually succeeded in cutting the insulation covering the hole and obtaining a sample from the damaged part to be studied back on Earth.

As the Soyuz spacecraft in question is not equipped for spacewalks, Kononenko had to travel from the ISS to the Russian spaceship with the help of a robotic arm attached to the International Space Station and operated by remote control by Prokopyev.

After reaching the spaceship, Kononenko used a knife and scissors to cut the anti-meteorite coating in order to take a sample back to earth.

Kononenko used a knife and scissors to cut the anti-meteorite coating in order to take a piece back to our planet.

The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said in October that an investigation had ruled out a manufacturing error.

However, he had previously commented that Russia did not exclude “deliberate interference in space.”

The Russian Cosmonauts took several photographs and filmed a video, before placing a new insulation cover over the area they had just cut through.

The spacewalk was the fourth for Kononenko and the second for Prokopyev.

Rogozin hailed the spacewalk as being “unprecedented in complexity” and Roscosmos said it would “enter the history of space exploration.”

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