On Friday afternoon, NASA pushed again on private assaults made by Russia’s state-owned information service towards NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor.
“NASA astronauts, together with Serena Auñón-Chancellor, are extraordinarily well-respected, serve their nation, and make invaluable contributions to the company,” said Kathy Lueders, chief of human spaceflight for NASA. “We stand behind Serena and her skilled conduct. We don’t consider there’s any credibility to those accusations.”
Shortly after Lueders tweeted this assertion, NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson concurred. “I whole-heartedly agree with Kathy’s assertion,” he said. “I totally assist Serena and I’ll at all times stand behind our astronauts.”
The statements of assist come greater than 24 hours after the Russian information service TASS, which is broadly distributed and speaks with the authority of the Russian authorities, published new claims about Auñón-Chancellor’s conduct as an astronaut aboard the Worldwide House Station in 2018. TASS claimed that Auñón-Chancellor had an emotional breakdown in area after which broken a Russian spacecraft in order that she may return to Earth early.
After Ars reported these claims on Thursday, NASA provided a weak assertion that by no means exonerated Auñón-Chancellor. “To guard their privateness, the company won’t focus on medical info relating to crew members,” the company stated partly.
NASA hardly ever, if ever, criticizes Russia as a result of the nation has largely been a dependable companion on the Worldwide House Station undertaking. NASA officers knew that rebutting these new claims would inflame an already tough relationship with the political leaders of Roscosmos, together with with the company’s head, Dmitry Rogozin. Nevertheless, two sources informed Ars that the management of NASA’s astronaut workplace was extraordinarily annoyed by NASA’s lack of assist for Auñón-Chancellor. This prompted the stronger statements that NASA launched Friday.
There have lengthy been rumors in lower-level Russian media shops blaming US astronauts for the opening in a Soyuz spacecraft that triggered the area station leak in 2018. However the TASS report was the primary to call Auñón-Chancellor, to reveal a personal medical situation, after which to make the incendiary declare that this situation led her to sabotage the area station.
From the start, NASA has recognized these claims had been nonsensical. Again in 2018, senior NASA officers had been briefed on the matter, a supply who participated informed Ars. The company’s area station program, based mostly in Houston, was capable of instantly decide that pressures started falling on the area station in late August 2018. They knew the exact areas of the US astronauts earlier than the leak occurred and in the meanwhile it started. Not one of the US astronauts on the station had been close to the Russian phase the place the Soyuz car was docked. US officers shared this knowledge with Russians to no avail.