Safe landing as space station trio return to Earth

The drill hole in the Russian Soyuz MS-09 crew craft

The drill hole in the Russian Soyuz MS-09 crew craft

Last month, the current ISS commander, American Drew Feustel, pointedly pushed back against the insinuation that any of the crew was responsible.

Considering the recent air leak in the ISS, the three astronauts who set out for Earth yesterday aboard the Soyuz MS-08 were probably breathing sighs of relief.

Russian experts are investigating what happened, but Russia's space chief has said it appeared the hole was made deliberately.

The Russian space agency has taken over the oxygen leakage recorded at the International Space Station and more specifically in the Soyuz-MC-09 enclosure.

The small hole that was discovered on August 29 resulted in a pressure leak before it was fixed by the space station crew. Early speculation on the cause touched on everything from a puncture caused by space debris to a manufacturing mistake to deliberate sabotage.

The Russian daily Kommersant reported that an investigation at home was probing the possibility that U.S. astronauts deliberately drilled the hole in order to get a sick colleague sent back home - something Russian officials later denied.




But NASA, the United States space agency, countered in a statement that ruling out defects "does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent".

"We are grateful to American colleagues for years-long productive cooperation, crowned with the creation of the International Space Station (ISS) that this year turns 20".

NASA said its new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, was scheduled to attend the launch and would meet Rogozin there for the first time.

Ever wonder what astronauts on the International Space Station do in between space walks and exploring the solar system?

In his interview, Rogozin also said there were problems in the relationship between Roskosmos and NASA - something he blamed on anti-Russian sentiment.

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