Air leak on ISS caused by drill hole filled with glue

You may remember last week there were reports of an air leak being discovered aboard the International Space Station. It was traced back to a small hole discovered in the Russian Soyuz capsule with the most likely cause being a collision with a fragment of rock. But it turns out that wasn't the source of the hole. Instead, someone back on Earth had made a mistake and tried to cover it up.

As unbelievable as it may sound, the air leak was caused by a hole that was mistakenly drilled while the Soyuz spacecraft was still on the ground. As UPI reports, the person who drilled the whole decided not to report the mistake and instead filled the hole with glue.

The best-guess explanation switched from "impact" to "human mistake" when an investigation of the hole apparently found "traces of a drill sliding along the surface." That's according to Dmitry Rogozin, CEO of Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos. Once in space, the glue that had been used to plug the hole dried up and and fell out, at which point sensors alerted the Expedition 56 crew to an air leak.

The hole has now been filled with epoxy thanks to the efforts of cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergei Prokopyev. The person who created the hole has apparently been identified already and I'm sure they aren't having the best time right now. Whoever they are, their actions put the lives of people in danger, and potentially the ISS itself.

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A cover up such as this is completely unacceptable and it certainly damages the Russian space program in terms of trust. Thankfully, the danger has passed without serious injury or death, but Roscosmos will need to take swift action to ensure this can never happen again and to satisfy others, including NASA, that new safety measures and work reviews are implemented quickly.

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