Oh, Russia, don’t ever change. The “former” evil empire seems to be at its old tricks again, launching mystery rockets, waking up its “killer” satellites, and continuing to broadcast encrypted radio messages around the world. Not to mention the whole "alleged" disinformation program which has injected all sorts of chaos into the political systems of Western governments. Now, Mother Russia continues its doctrine of intentional international intrigue with the launch of a strange new experimental capsule to be installed on the International Space Station. What could go wrong?
The launch was conducted at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and included routine supplies for astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS such as food, water, and fuel. However, NASA officials spotted an odd capsule being loaded onto the Progress MS-07 that they can’t identify. When NASA officials asked their Russian counterparts what the device might be, they were told only that it is intended for a scientific use and is designed only for a one-way trip. Russian space officials refused to divulge any more information.
NASA officials are baffled and a bit worried over how tight-lipped the Russians have been about the device. NASA scientists say this is the first time in the two decades of joint US-Russia operation of the ISS that either nation has sent unidentified cargo up to the space station - at least that we know about. The launch of this mystery capsule continues a year of strange happenings aboard the ISS; earlier this year, a mysterious US reconnaissance satellite buzzed the ISS shortly after its launching following a Russian Space agency announcement that they had found unknown “biomaterial” on the outside of the space station. Could a new space race be afoot?
Perhaps interestingly, the launch of the rocket containing the unidentified cargo was scrubbed at the last minute and rescheduled for October 14th. Does this have anything to do with the fact that NASA spotted the mysterious capsule, or is it mere coincidence? Launches are scrubbed all the time for weather or mechanical malfunctions, after all. Who knows. One thing’s for sure, though: the Cold War ain’t so cold anymore.