“We stand behind Serena and her professional conduct. We do not believe there is any credibility to these accusations."

Fighting Words

The drama behind the recent ISS-spinning-out-of-control incident continues to unfold.

After a state-owned Russian news agency baselessly accused NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of having a mental breakdown on the ISS and intentionally causing damage to the Russian space module, the US agency has pushed back on the attacks, according to Ars Technica.

“NASA astronauts, including Serena Aunon-Chancellor, are extremely well-respected, serve their country and make invaluable contributions to the agency,” said Kathy Leuders, the associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, in a tweet. “We stand behind Serena and her professional conduct. We do not believe there is any credibility to these accusations.” 

NASA chief Bill Nelson quote tweeted the post and added, “I whole heartedly [sic] agree with Kathy’s statement. I fully support Serena and I will always stand behind our astronauts.”

Blame Game

This bizarre mudslinging campaign began when the state-owned news service TASS claimed that Auñón-Chancellor experienced “an acute psychological crisis” due to deep vein thrombosis. The news service went on to say this caused her to drill holes into the wall of the module to allow her to go home sooner. 

This is, of course, likely complete BS. 

Not only does TASS offer zero pieces of evidence to back up their accusation, but their claims come from an alleged anonymous source at Roscosmos. It’s probably just a way of deflecting blame away from the likeliest culprit: the Nauka module suffered a preventable software glitch

Luckily, it doesn’t seem as though the terrestrial tensions have been impacting work aboard the ISS itself. In fact, camaraderie and fun seem to be higher than ever if the recent Space Olympics are any indication.

READ MORE: NASA stands by its astronaut after incendiary Russian claims [Ars Technica]

More on the Nauka incident: Russia Says Don’t Worry, It’s No Big Deal That We Threw the ISS Into a Tailspin


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