A 2 mm hole in the Soyuz spacecraft resulted in an air leak
On December 11, Russian cosmonauts had to perform a spacewalk in order to explore the mysterious opening in the Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS. Some Moscow representatives suggested that the event could have been sabotaged by American colleagues.
Roskosmos says that the purpose of verification is to find out exactly where the hole was made: in space or on Earth. A hole with a size of 2 mm led to an air leak and was fixed in August, 2 months after the last flight of the spacecraft. Until now, astronauts could study the hole only inside the spacecraft.
In October, Dmitry Rogozin said that the investigation had ruled out a production error. Earlier, he said that he did not eliminate the possibility of “deliberate sabotage”. For example, the Russian media wrote that it was the US astronauts who drilled a hole to take a sick colleague home. Later, Russian officials have refuted these assumptions. After the hole was discovered, there was a crash in the Russian rocket (October), although the crew managed to land safely. The spacewalk will be a 6-hour mission that will be performed by Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopiev. They use a knife to remove insulation and sheeting. Then carefully examine the hole and scrape samples.
“Clues” will be delivered to Earth and will provide a full report. Rogozin noted that this walk into outer space will be difficult. The bottom line is that the Soyuz spacecraft is not designed for repair in open space and does not have external fixtures and railings for astronauts. But Russian representatives do not consider this a problem.
The Soyuz spacecraft is used to transport crew members to the ISS and back. The hole is in the section that will not be used to send people on December 20th.