The state-backed Russian news service TASS has leveled some serious accusations against NASA’s astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor. TASS particularly talked bout Auñón-Chancellor’s behavior as an astronaut aboard the International Space Station in 2018. TASS claimed that Auñón-Chancellor had an emotional breakdown in space and then damaged a Russian spacecraft so that she could return to Earth early.
On Friday afternoon, NASA pushed back on personal attacks made by Russia’s state-owned news service against NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor. Kathy Lueders, chief of human spaceflight for NASA, tweeted:
“NASA astronauts, including Serena Aunon-Chancellor, are extremely well-respected, serve their country and make invaluable contributions to the agency. We stand behind Serena and her professional conduct. We do not believe there is any credibility to these accusations.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson further tweeted: “I whole-heartedly agree with Kathy’s statement. I fully support Serena, and I will always stand behind our astronauts.”
But, NASA’s statement to Ars makes everyone a little curious. The statement read: “To protect their privacy, the agency will not discuss medical information regarding crew members.”
This implies that Auñón-Chancellor did have a mental breakdown; however, NASA does not want to publicise the information. Should she be held responsible for the ISS damages?
There have long been rumours in Russian media outlets blaming US astronauts for the hole in a Soyuz spacecraft that caused the space station leak in 2018. However, NASA has stated these claims to be absolute nonsense.
A source told Ars that NASA was briefed when the leak was made and immediately noticed pressures falling on the space station. NASA then tracked the precise locations of the U.S. astronauts at the time of the leak and found that none of them were near the Russian segment where the Soyuz vehicle was docked. Russian officials, however, were not satisfied with this explanation.
Back in 2018, a source told Ars that senior NASA officials were briefed on the leak. NASA’s space station program, based in Houston, immediately determined that pressures began falling on the space station in late August 2018. Then NASA started tracking the locations of the US astronauts before the leak even occurred. They found out that none of the US astronauts on the station were near the Russian segment where the Soyuz vehicle was docked. US officials shared this data; however, Russians never agreed with this justification.
It is a mess! You can’t really speculate what is happening?