NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will meet with Roscomos Director General Dmitry Rogozin today.
The two have a great deal to discuss, after a small hole two millimetres in diameter was discovered in August on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft that was carrying both American and Russian personnel. The hole, which, caused the spacecraft to lose air pressure until it was patched, has sparked controversy, with media reports in Russia and the US accusing the other of sabotage.
While Bridenstine and Rogozin will likely emphasise that NASA and Roscomos relations remain cordial and recommit to a joint investigation, underlying tensions will endure. Indeed, the investigation has so far revealed that the hole was drilled, ruling out original suspicions that it was a manufacturing defect.
While the hole was most likely created some time while the spacecraft was built and possibly by accident, tensions between NASA and Roscomos bode ill. Indeed, the space agencies have historically remained cooperative even as US and Russia relations have deteriorated to their lowest levels. As such, a strained partnership between the two agencies could spark further tensions between the US and Russian governments.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.