Russian Cosmonauts Cut Open Soyuz Module To Investigate Mysterious Hole

Russian Cosmonauts Cut Open Soyuz Module To Investigate Mysterious Hole

"It should be somewhere here", Mr Kononenko says at the height of the six-hour operation. The crew quickly located and sealed the tiny hole that created a slight loss of pressure, and space officials said the station has remained safe to operate.

"That is exactly the hole we've been looking for, guys", radioed Russian Mission Control outside Moscow.

The leak was spotted on August 30 in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the station.

Two Russian cosmonauts ventured outside the International Space Station today (Dec. 11) to cut into a spacecraft and inspect the source of a pressurization leak that briefly plagued the outpost earlier this year.

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

In the 7 hour 45 minute expedition, the cosmonauts took extensive photos of the drilling site and collected material from around the hole to be sent back to the Earth for testing. Officials said the crew - three US astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one German - were never in danger.

The hole caused speculation about sabotage in Russian media, The New York Times reported Monday, but NASA and Roscosmos held off on elaborating further until the investigation is completed.

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Russian officials later denied those reports. Of course, NASA doesn't really have much choice in this regard, considering Russian Federation is now the space agency's only crewed launch partner until SpaceX and Boeing get their acts together.

The hole, which was patched from the inside the station, was exposed and inspected by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, both Expedition 57 flight engineers, during a December 11, 2018 spacewalk.

The spacewalk will be the fourth of Kononenko's career and he'll be wear a spacesuit with red stripes on this journey, while Prokopyev will bear blue stripes for his second spacewalk.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's civilian space agency Roscosmos, described the spacewalk as "unprecedented in its complexity".

The hole was repaired on the same day restoring the hermetic integrity of the ISS.

The pair then returned back inside the space station after determining that they wouldn't need to cover their handywork with a thermal blanket.

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