Sunday, 20 January, 2019


Space station crew to inspect mysterious hole on spacewalk

Kristine Garrett | 12 December, 2018, 16:41

Roscosmos has ruled out a manufacturing defect causing the 2 mm-wide hole found in August on the Russian Soyuz capsule, but NASA has sought to dampen speculation of sabotage.

The statement comes after Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko removed part of micrometeorite protection of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft's hull and discovered a hole under it, according to reports from the Russian Mission Control Center (MCC), where the Russian cosmonauts' spacewalk is broadcast. However, exactly when it occurred and who did it has not been publicly determined. The microcrack was in the Orbital Module, which is not created to re-enter Earth's atmosphere intact.

The Russians needed to cut away the outer layers of the capsule in order to find the hole.

The samples, data and photographs taken from the leak site will be brought back to Earth and analyzed by Russian specialists.

The two cosmonauts then used the same tools to cut into and peel away a thin metal orbital debris shield to expose the hole in the Soyuz MS-09's orbital compartment.

The hole appeared as a black mark or spot on the exposed metal skin of the Soyuz spacecraft.

Kononenko was wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1)-the lead spacewalker-while Prokopyev wore a spacesuit with blue stripes and was designated EV2.

This was Kononenko's fourth EVA and Prokopyev's second.

A new thermal blanket has been placed over the area. Additionally, the spacewalk was already running long.

At 5 hours and 20 minutes they found it.

Prokopyev, Gerst, and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor are scheduled to depart the station in the Soyuz MS-09 on December 19, returning to Earth after a six-and-a-half-month mission. Landing is expected several hours later in Kazakhstan.

Kononenko, who arrived at the station earlier this month with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, said in a pre-flight interview that the spacewalk would be strenuous. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. Pressure quickly returned to normal aboard the space station, and the patch job has held since then. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor.

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