Do you remember the mysterious hole that suddenly appeared in the Soyuz MS-09 capsule attached to the International Space Station? You can bet NASA astronauts and other ISS residents do. To refresh your member, it started in August 2018 when NASA ground officials detected a small leak in the ISS, which they initially blamed on a tiny meteorite. Inspections by the crew traced it to the Soyuz capsule, and the hole was inspected and then plugged without determining a cause. However, a spacewalk inspection of the exterior showed signs of drilling and a previously-applied patch made of a mysterious yellow substance. The Soyuz capsule was deemed safe to return to Earth because the part with the hole gets ejected before the descent through the atmosphere. Unfortunately, that destroyed the visible evidence. However #2, an investigation of the records of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the contractor who worked on the Soyuz found that indeed the hole was caused by a drill on the ground and was patched to pass inspection. To determine if it was deliberate sabotage or an accident, the case became a criminal investigation with the usual denials and fingerprinting in Russia, and worried discussions in the U.S. about how soon some other means of shuttling crews would become available. Whew!
That brings us to two new reports by Sputnik News. In the first, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin announced that the “causes” of the hole had been found. Tem ne meniye (that’s Google Translate Russian for ‘however’) …
“It was in the household compartment [of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft], it already burned down long ago when the ship was descending. We took all the samples. What happened is clear to us, but we won’t tell you anything. We may have some secrets.”
Really? Is that what he said to NASA too? In the second, Sputnik News reveals one person who was told everything.
“The president has been briefed on the results of the investigation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin knows who made the hole and why. Perhaps President Trump can work out a deal to get him to spill the borscht about the botched coverup. Do we have any secrets Putin doesn’t know already?
It sounds like time is of the essence for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to get approval to transport astronauts to the ISS. Perhaps President Trump can work out a deal to get him to speed things up. What does Musk need? Money? Publicity? What do you get to bribe for the guy who has everything?