Russian cosmonauts take spacewalk to probe mystery of craft hole

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The cause of the hole on the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, docked to the station, has not yet been established. The agency says it will be coordinating with NASA and others involved in the ISS program to discuss the results.

On Aug. 29, flight controllers monitoring the space station's systems from the ground first noticed a small loss of cabin pressure aboard the orbiting laboratory. 2018 spacewalk to expose the source of a pressurization leak, since patched, on board the International Space Station.

You need steady hands when you're hurtling around the Earth at 27,000 kilometres per hour in a pressurised spacesuit holding a knife and hacking a hole in a Soyuz capsule from the outside.

The hole was repaired on the same day restoring the hermetic integrity of the ISS. The materials will be brought back to Earth for further examination. Officials said the crew - three USA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one German - were never in danger. This led to speculation that perhaps someone purposefully created the hole, sparking rumors of sabotage.

The statement comes after Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko removed part of micrometeorite protection of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft's hull and discovered a hole under it, according to reports from the Russian Mission Control Center (MCC), where the Russian cosmonauts' spacewalk is broadcast. "We don't reject any theories", Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos told the state news agency TASS. It was the eighth spacewalk this year.

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The crew aboard the space station has, since the leak was discovered and repaired, conducted frequent leak detection work and pressure measurements to make sure that the leak stayed sealed and the pressure on the space station remained normal.

Samples taken by the two cosmonauts will eventually be returned to Earth for investigations to be completed to find the possible cause of the hole. They also collected images and video to aid the investigation.

The spacewalkers' job was to collect samples of any epoxy sealant that may have protruded from the hole.

The discovery of the hole was followed in October by the failure of a manned Soyuz launch, although the Russian and U.S. astronauts returned safely to Earth.