International Space Station Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel has denied that his crew had anything to do with a leak discovered late last month. Feustel’s statement was promoted by the head of the Russian space agency releasing a statement revealing that the leak was a deliberate act, “either on Earth or in space.”
In a space-to-ground interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Feustel stated, “I can unequivocally say that the crew had nothing to do with this on orbit, without a doubt, and I think it’s actually a shame and somewhat embarrassing that anybody is wasting any time talking about something that the crew was involved in.”
The leak in the space station was discovered in the Russian segment of the station resulting in a small loss of cabin pressure. Despite the drop in pressure, officials confirmed that the crew were never in any danger with ground control raising the cabin’s pressure slightly to compensate.
Following the discovery and subsequent repair of the leak, it was confirmed that the hole was not the result of a space debris impact as initial reports had suggested. After inspecting the damage, it was concluded that the leak was, in fact, the result of a hole being drilled into the Soyuz spacecraft’s orbital module.
During a televised press conference, Dmitry Rogozin, CEO of Roscosmos revealed that the leak appeared to have been created by “a faltering hand”. He went on to explain that he believed it to be “a technological error by a specialist.” However, towards the end of the conference, Rogozin stated that Roscosmos still had to determine whether the act was an accident or “deliberate spoilage” by someone on the ground or on the station itself.
In addition to flatly denying Rogozin’s implications that one of his crew may be responsible, Feustel expressed hope that the matter would be dealt with swiftly.
“We certainly don’t want to ever see that happen again,” said Feustel. “I hope the teams on the ground do proper due diligence in trying to solve this problem because the implications are enormous to the whole space program, not only to us in the U.S. but also in Russia and internationally for all the partners.”