Last week, astronauts found a two-millimeter hole in the construction of a Russian Soyuz MS-09 module docked at the International Space Station (ISS). The hole allowed oxygen to escape and the pressure dropped slightly before the hole was repaired with tape and sealant. Back then, the astronauts thought that a "micrometeorite" attack was the fault.
Now, however, a more sinister statement has emerged. According to the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, the hole was drilled.
It is not clear whether the drilling was intentional or accidental, whether it was on earth or in orbit around the earth. But, according to reports, Dmitry Rogozin said, whoever did it, had a "wavering hand" and there had been several attempts to drill.
As a result, according to Rogozin sabotage can not be ruled out.
The Russians monitor the investigation – they have built the module – and if they can identify the perpetrator, they say they will make their name known.
The module was built by the Russian company Energia and a former employee told the Russian media that technicians have made similar mistakes in the past. On one occasion, a technician accidentally penetrated the hull of a re-entry module and tried to conceal it by sealing the epoxy gap – he was discovered and fired, however.
The module flew to the ISS in June and carried three cosmonauts: the Russian Sergey Prokopyev, the German Alexander Barley and the Serena Auñón Chancellor of the United States. There should be no problem using the Soyuz capsule to get home.
All trips to the ISS and back have been made using Russian craft these days, as has been the case since 2011, when NASA stopped making such missions.