Nasa astronaut ‘made hole in space station to come home early’
Jacqui Goddard, MiamiMonday August 16 2021, 12.01am, The Times
Nasa’s top officials have scorned a claim from Russia’s space agency that a US astronaut sabotaged a capsule at the International Space Station to try to force an early return to Earth.
The unsubstantiated claim — published by Tass, the Russian government news agency — accused Serena Auñón-Chancellor, 45, of drilling a hole in a Soyuz spacecraft after an “acute psychological crisis” in 2018.
“Serena is an extremely well-respected crew member who has made invaluable contributions. I did not find this accusation credible,” said Kathy Lueders, Nasa’s associate administrator for human space flight.
Bill Nelson, head of Nasa, tweeted: “I fully support Serena.”
The apparent smear campaign raised questions over Russia as a space partner and put a controversial angle on the unexplained origin of some decompression.