In September of 2018, Russia announced that it was investigating potential sabotage of its Soyuz rocket attached to the ISS. An air leak was discovered aboard the ISS, and on investigation, a hole was found under a panel with evidence that a drill made the hole. Word is that despite the hole in the spacecraft and the fact that astronauts had to resort to using epoxy to seal the hole, the crew aboard the ISS were in no danger.
Russia wasn’t content with merely fixing the leak and stated that it suspected sabotage might have been the root cause of the hole, which was initially blamed on a meteorite strike. Later it was discovered that the hole had been created from inside the ship. Russian cosmonauts recently performed a spacewalk to investigate the hole that has been described as “unprecedented in its complexity.”
The pair of Russian cosmonauts used knives and shears to cut samples from around the hole in the Soyuz spacecraft. The puncture was about 2mm in size, and the goal of cutting samples is to determine if the hole was from a defect or was deliberate sabotage. Russia invited NASA to send astronauts out on the spacewalk with the cosmonauts, but NASA declined according to reports.
So far a manufacturing defect has been ruled out by Russia and reports indicate that the hole appears to have been drilled by an unsteady hand. Other than sabotage, a poorly made repair is also at the top of the list of potential causes for the hole.
It’s not clear how exactly Russia plans to conduct investigations of the samples cut from the spacecraft aboard the ISS. It’s also unclear if the samples will be sent back to Earth aboard a returning spacecraft. The Russian cosmonauts on the sample collecting spacewalk were Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev.