Astronauts who visit the International Space Station undergo rigorous training to deal with a myriad of emergency situations. Those situations include tiny leaks in the ISS, malfunctions in attached space capsules that cause the ISS to spin, space debris from a satellite weapons experiment in such concentrations that the ISS must be moved and spacewalks canceled. All of those are real situations that were caused since 2018 by cosmonauts, Roscosmos or Russian space contractors, so it would have been more appropriate for the Russian cosmonauts or space agency to deal with them. That has not been the case – instead, the problems were denied or dismissed … until now. Russian state media reports that Roscosmos finally completed its investigation of the ISS leak, which began in 2018, and has turned it over to the police. Wait … what? Why?
“The Izvestia newspaper reported earlier on Friday, citing sources, that the reason behind the hole could have been NASA astronaut Serena Maria Aunon-Chancellor’s desire to return to Earth because of a blood clot or a fight with her boyfriend onboard the International Space Station (ISS). A source told TASS earlier that the hole had been drilled in weightlessness by a person not acquainted with the spaceship’s design.”
The Russian news agency TASS reports that the leak was the result of multiple sabotage drilling attempts – one which was successful – by NASA astronaut Serena Maria Aunon-Chancellor, who was either suffering physically from a blood clot or having “an acute psychological crisis” from a botched romantic affair with another crew member (she married to someone else) and decided to create a situation that would result in her being returned to Earth. The investigators claim the hole and attempted holes were made by someone unfamiliar with how to drill while weightless. While the Russians recently sent a crew to the ISS to film an action movie, this sounds more like a plot for a space soap opera.
"These attacks are false and lack any credibility. I fully support Serena and stand behind all of our astronauts."
In an interview with Ars Technica, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson defended astronaut Aunon-Chancellor with evidence that NASA identified the location of every one of its astronauts on the ISS when the leak first registered on monitoring instruments and none were anywhere near it on the Russian side. A different investigation suggested the hole was made by a Russian contractor – either by accident or to sabotage the station – but Roscosmos has never accepted that explanation.
As expected, NASA officials suspect this is yet another deflection by the Russian space agency to take attention away from the recent destruction of a satellite by a missile, which resulted in debris causing the need to move the ISS out of danger and later cancel a spacewalk. It seems petty to turn this accusation over to the Russian police rather than deal with it NASA-to-Roscosmos … perhaps this is a sign things are far worse between them and on the ISS than we’ve been led to believe. While Roscosmos has threatened to build its own station or move to China’s, it continues to invest in new modules for the current one.
So far, there appears to be no comments from Serena Maria Aunon-Chancellor or the other five crew members on the ISS when the leak occurred – a group that includes the potential ex-boyfriend and the only eyewitnesses to whatever might have happened.
‘As the World Turns Under the ISS’ – sounds like the perfect name for the first space soap opera.