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Russian cosmonauts went into outer space to study the hole in the “Union”

Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Oleg Kononenko went into outer space. An unscheduled six-hour exit was required for the first “investigative actions” outside the Earth in the history of cosmonautics — the astronauts should get to the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft and try to find out the reason for the appearance of the mysterious hole in its domestic compartment. The output is broadcast on the Roscosmos website and on  the NASA website .

The two-millimeter hole in the household compartment of the Soyuz, docked to the ISS, was found at the end of August and immediately repaired. The reasons for its appearance are still unknown, but the original version – the impact of a micrometeorite – was rejected because traces from the drill were found near the hole. Roscosmos organized a commission of inquiry, however, no official version of the incident was given, the deadline for the commission’s work was not announced. In the absence of official information, the media, citing anonymous sources, reported various versions – from production defects to sabotage.

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To find out the reasons for the appearance of the hole, it was decided to organize a spacewalk and inspect the casing of the domestic compartment from the outside. It will be quite difficult for astronauts to get to the ship, because the ship does not have, as the modules of the MKS, regular handrails for working outside. They will move along telescopic boom-manipulators (GSTM-1 and GSTM-2) located on the docking module “Search” and functional-cargo block “Zarya”.Then they will, having fixed their feet on the special adapters of both arrows, manually cut a portion of the screen-vacuum thermal insulation and protective anti-meteoroid panel in the area where the two-millimeter hole is located, take it off the video, take the fragments of the study. If astronauts have time after this task, they will have to remove two devices with samples of microorganisms (the Test experiment) and remove the panel with samples for the Endurance experiment from the outer surface of the station, within which the influence of cosmic factors on various materials is studied . As expected, the spacewalk will last 6 hours 31 minutes.

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