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Roscosmos chief lambasts rumors over Soyuz as ploy to subvert ISS crew

Russia’s Kommersant daily reported earlier that the Roscosmos probe was considering, among other likely causes of the damage to Soyuz, deliberate actions by US astronauts

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. The recent buzz about the incident with Russia’s Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, which is currently docked with the International Space Station (ISS), is directed at subverting the friendly relations among the international crew on board the orbital station, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said.

"The recent gossip and rumors circulating about the incident at the ISS hinder the work of Roscosmos experts and are designed to subvert the friendly relations among the crew members of the space station," Rogozin commented on his Facebook account.

"All statements citing unnamed sources are inadmissible until Roscosmos special commission concludes its work," the CEO stressed.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said earlier in the day that it was inadmissible to accuse either Russian or American ISS crewmembers of the incident since "it is a unified crew with no political disagreements whatsoever."

Russia’s Kommersant daily reported on Tuesday citing its unnamed sources that the Roscosmos probe was considering, among other likely causes of the damage to Soyuz, deliberate actions by US astronauts, who in this way wished to speed up their return home.

According to the newspaper, the astronauts might have drilled the hole because one of the crew members was unwell. Urgent evacuation of all crewmembers would allow for getting full treatment, while the compartment where the hole was found would have burned down in the atmosphere. Roscosmos said it would refrain from making comments on the issue until the special probe reported its findings.

A drop in pressure due to an air leak was detected on the orbital outpost overnight to August 30. Later, the cause was discovered to be a two-millimeter hole of the orbital compartment of the manned Soyuz MS-09 space vehicle docked to the space station.

The Russian cosmonauts had plugged the hole patching it up with several layers of epoxy resin and restored pressure aboard the space station.

Russia has set up a commission consisting of specialists from Roscosmos, the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIImash, Roscosmos’s major research institute) to investigate the incident.

It was reported later that the Russian spacecraft had been damaged from the inside with a power drill and the manufacturer - space rocket corporation Energia - was ordered to identify the person who might have made the hole.

ISS Expedition 56 consists of six crew members and they are NASA astronauts Commander Drew Feutsel, Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold and Flight Engineer Serena Aunon-Chancellor; Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev; European Space Agency (ESA) Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst.