The story of the strange hole in a Russian vehicle attached to the International Space Station continues to get stranger. Just yesterday comments from the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, began to make the rounds, Rogozin stating that an investigation has ruled the hole was intentional and not a result of an accident or defect. Today, NASA has a slightly different angle that it wants to share.
In a new statement, NASA does its best to walk back some of the comments issued by its Russian counterpart, noting that it’s not immediately jumping to the conclusion that the hole was actually sabotage at all.
This is turning into a real soap opera.There’s a lot to digest here but there are a couple of key things to note. First off, NASA’s assertion that the Roscosmos ruling out an accidental manufacturing defect automatically means it was a deliberate act. NASA has taken an “innocent until proven guilty” position related to the possibility of someone in the manufacturing process (in Russia) drilling the hole with the intention of causing trouble. But if it wasn’t an accident or a defect, then what other possibility remains, besides it being an intentional act?
The second important part of this statement is that NASA is standing by Russia’s flight hardware and has no intention of delaying or canceling its plans to send American astronauts to the ISS via Russian missions. NASA’s Hague will be flying to the International Space Station along with Russia’s Ovchinin in just a handful of days and NASA clearly wanted to reassure everyone that there have been no hiccups in that roadmap.
Russia still has the second half of its investigation to complete, at which point we might finally know where and when the hole was created, but for now, we’ll have to just watch NASA and Roscosmos continue this awkward dance.