NASA probes reason behind space station hole, plans for spacewalk

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NASA is planning to take a spacewalk in the International Space Station (Representational Image)
NASA is planning to take a spacewalk in the International Space Station (Representational Image)

New Delhi : World's prestigious space research organization, NASA, now, is planning to take a spacewalk in the International Space Station (ISS). It is in regard to tamp down speculation that sabotage caused a tiny hole in the side of a Russian module docked at the space station. The problem was discovered last month but the reason behind the mystery is yet to be explored.

Dimitri Rogozin, the general director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, had made a comment in public pointing manufacturing defect as the cause of the hole. 

Conversely, NASA added, "This conclusion does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent," as some media outlets interpreted Rogozin's remarks as suggesting.

Instead of giving weight to foul play, the exclusion of a manufacturing defect as causing the hole "indicates that this is an isolated issue which does not categorically affect future production," NASA said.

Both Roscosmos and NASA have opened their own investigations of the 2 millimeter-wide hole detected in late August on the exterior wall of a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the space station after ground operators reported slight dips in pressure levels.

As a temporary solution, the tiny hole has since been patched with tape and sealant, stopping the oxygen leak, and officials said the current crew members, consisting of three U.S. astronauts, two Russian and one German cosmonaut were never in any danger.

Rogozin formerly raised the possibility of a purposeful act in comments reported by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, which quoted him earlier this month as saying it appeared that a drill had been used by an "unsteady hand," leaving metal around the hole scraped.

NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers said that the new media reports about the possibility of intentional damage to the Soyuz module came from "rough translation" by some Western news channels of Rogozin's latest comments.

"No one is saying, and certainly NASA is not saying, that it was deliberate," she said.

She also said the space agency was confident that the reason behind the hole would be explained. "We will find the reason and we will reveal the reason no matter what it is."

NASA said a spacewalk will be planned in the month November to gather more information.