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Cosmonaut insists Soyuz module hole was drilled from inside

This situation is serious as it stands, as Russian cosmonaut is convinced that the hole in the Soyuz craft was drilled from the inside.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On August 30, 2018, there was a widely reported incident on board the International Space Station (the ISS). A slight loss of cabin pressure on board the station was found to be caused by a 2mm wide hole that was in the hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft which was docked with the ISS at the time. After a failed launch attempt later in the fall, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev finally succeeded in reaching the ISS to conduct an intensive inspection of the hole. His conclusion is that it was not the result of a micrometeoroid impact, but that it was drilled from inside the crew module.

This statement was woefully misrepresented by several news media outlets, which adjusted their headlines and ledes to suggest that someone on board the ISS drilled the hole while the station was in flight. The sensationalist cries of “sabotage!!” can be laid aside, however, as there is no conclusive evidence that anything like this happened. The British tabloids like The Daily Mail and The Sun mishandled the article with headlines like The Sun’s “Was it sabotage? Russian Cosmonaut insists mysterious hole in the ISS WAS drilled from inside the space station.”

Surprisingly even the reputable magazine Popular Mechanics initially got aspects of the report wrong, saying that they had incorrectly stated that the Soyuz module had been landed on Earth for examination.

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko, who investigated the hole in the Soyuz MS-09 docking module.

So what is the true story?

The true story is this:

Cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev was one of two members of the ISS crew who went on a spacewalk a few weeks ago to investigate the hole from the outside. Over the course of several hours, Prokopyev and his colleague Oleg Kononenko cut into the outer shell of the Soyuz spacecraft where the hole was found, collected samples, and took photos of the entry—or exit—hole on the outside of the craft.

According to Prokopyev, whatever made the hole started on the inside of the spacecraft. Because there’s only the one hole, that rules out a micrometeorite or some natural cause. Instead, the only possible explanation seems to be that someone drilled the hole, either accidentally or on purpose.

This is a particular concern for Roscosmos because the hole was found on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station. If this whole thing is the result of deliberate sabotage, it could damage the international image of Roscosmos and the Russian space program.

The hole was apparently drilled from inside the module. But where the module was when this happened is not known, and of course, when it happened is also not known.

The rate of leakage of air was slow – it would have taken 18 days for all the air to have been evacuated from the station, which is quite large.

However, the crux of the story is that there should not be any holes in spacefaring equipment, and so both the origin and reason for its existence are under scrutiny.

Due to the difficult political relationship between the US and Russia, a speculative suggestion offered early on by Roscosmos’ head Dmitry Rogozin that someone created the hole deliberately, perhaps even a crew member on board the space station, caused a furor that was absent of logic, like most American “Russia did it!” allegations have been over the last two years.

The hole that was found in the Soyuz MS-09 module while docked to the International Space Station (ISS)

First, as a way to kill astronauts, an 18-day long leak takes at least six or seven days before the crew would be physically even affected by atmosphere loss, let alone impaired, but this is a virtually impossible situation to sneak on a crew when all life support systems on a spacefaring craft are meticulously monitored. So, such an act of sabotage is just stupid.

Secondly, according to Popular Science’s report on this incident, it is extremely hard to drill holes in microgravity, as the torque of the drill and the absence of weight would require an astronaut to be in some sort of restraints or for the drill to have a mechanism to absorb the torque without spinning the astronaut. This claim may be debatable as to how easy it really is to do this, but it is not like drilling a hole on Earth, and further, the astronauts on the ISS run a pretty tight work schedule, and an astronaut sneaking a drill around is likely to be noticed.

The most likely answer is that someone on the ground inadvertently or maybe deliberately, drilled the hole – though the way the hole actually appears suggests that although it is man-made, it does not appear to be intentionally made. That means that someone made a mistake, but then the question becomes: how did this pass inspection prior to launch? A hole in the ascent phase of a spaceflight probably would not cause a problem, as the spacecraft moves at its highest speeds well out of the atmosphere.

But re-entry is another matter, and Russia has already borne the loss of astronauts in this way. Space.com tells the story:

The Soviet space program also suffered the first, and so-far only, deaths in space in 1971, when cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov died while returning to Earth from the Salyut 1 space station. Their Soyuz 11 craft performed a textbook-perfect landing in 1971. So recovery teams were appalled to find the three-man crew sitting dead in their couches, with dark-blue splotches on their faces and blood dripping from their ears and noses.

An investigation showed that a breathing ventilation valve had ruptured, asphyxiating the cosmonauts. The resulting drop in pressure also exposed the crew to the vacuum of space — the only human beings to ever experience such a fate. They died within seconds of the rupture, which occurred at 168 kilometers (104 miles), making them the only human beings to die in space. Since the capsule ran an automatic re-entry program, the craft could land without living pilots.

This memory doubtless lives with the Russian program and indeed, all spacefarers are beyond politics, so this is important to everyone.

The Russian government is very concerned about getting this problem resolved, and as the Russian spacecraft are the only game in town for anyone who wants to go to the ISS, it is a serious international concern.

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ruca
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ruca

I would be more concerned with the massive holes above the small hole. Don’t know why they are there.

Smokingeagle
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Smokingeagle

The edges of the large hole above the small hole are a bit rough so I’m thinking that it could have been drilled as part of investigating the small hole. The edges of the white section next to the yellowish material on the left side of the image are also rough so it looks as though the section has been cut out for closer inspection.

Hunter
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Hunter

As I recall, NASA and its astronauts have also experienced trouble, big trouble, Shuttle trouble (Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003 killed a total of 14 astronauts as a consequence). I doubt very much that they were caused by a saboteur, and the same doubt might very well appliy to the Soyuz crafts and other Russian crafts and rockets. As for drilling a hole in a spacecraft and for the Popular Science’s affirmation about the near impossibility of doing it out of gravity, I could add that a good grip to some solid part of the said craft could… Read more »

Terry
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Terry

Having followed the Soviet and later Russian space program since Sputnik I seem to recall reading, probably in Science in the USSR magazine, that the cause of the depressurization of the three cosmonauts in 1971 was determined to be that the pressure equalization valve between the Soyuz and the Salute 1 had not closed or been closed completely, allowing a small air leak which gradually depressurized the Soyuz after it undocked. The cosmonauts likely didn’t notice the very slow drop in pressure and passed out from anoxia long before actually dying. The early Soyuz model equalization valve was changed to… Read more »

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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