The Hole Truth: U.S.-Russia Space Dustup Threatens Rare Frontier Of Cooperation
On August 29, disturbing data from a Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked at the International Space Station (ISS) reached the mission control centers in Houston and Moscow. The shuttle was losing oxygen, flight operators noted, and pressure inside the cabins was dropping. None of the crew members on board — three Americans, two Russians and a German — could provide an explanation.
After a thorough search of the spacecraft, the astronauts traced the oxygen leak to a tiny hole, around 2 millimeters in diameter, located in the Russian section of the ship, the orbital compartment that is cast off before atmospheric reentry.
Working with flight controllers on the ground, they covered the hole using heat-resistant tape as a temporary fix. To stabilize oxygen levels, they connected the shuttle to another spacecraft docked at the station, the Progress 70, according to a NASA statement.
In the hours that followed, Russian crew members followed instructions from Moscow and stopped up the hole with a cloth saturated in epoxy. In the process, they noted existing traces of glue inside the hole, according to Russian media reports. Crew members agreed with mission control to wait for the seal to harden and take a day to devise a longer-term solution.
NASA was quick to issue a statement and call for calm. The leak on board the spacecraft was “tiny” and placed no lives at risk, the agency said on August 30. The Russian space agency Roskosmos, for its part, convened a commission to investigate the incident and ascertain responsibility.
News of the incident spread fast, with media reports speculating on the cause of the oxygen leak. Explanations cited by space-industry sources and Russian journalists ranged from collision with space debris, mostly likely a micrometeorite, to deliberate sabotage by a crew member.
A photo of the small hole, published by Russia’s space agency, Roskosmos, appeared to show impact marks caused by attempts to insert a drill bit into the hull.
On September 3, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti cited reports that the hole was drilled by a worker at Energiya, the corporation that manufactures Soyuz rockets. Upon noticing the error, the employee allegedly plugged the hole with glue, which explained why it was discovered neither during preflight testing nor during the first two months of the space mission.
The MS-09 space shuttle had been docked at the ISS since June.
Within hours of the report’s publication, Roskosmos head Dmitry Rogozin appeared before journalists. He said that investigators had discarded the chance of collision with space debris and were looking into the possibility of sabotage.
“There’s clear evidence of tampering with the spacecraft’s hull,” Rogozin told journalists. “We’re checking whether this was done on Earth. But there’s another version, which we’re not discounting: deliberate interference in space.”
The search for the culprit is a “matter of honor” for Energiya, Rogozin added.
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
EBRD supported West Kazakhstan entrepreneurs
The Small Business Support Group of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Kazakhstan and Shell Kazakhstan implemented the unique project for entrepreneurs of West Kazakhstan region – the “Marathon of Success” Forum. This forum has become the unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to improve managerial knowledge and skills. Various training courses on doing business were conducted for them. Read more in the material of the Strategy2050.kz Information Agency.
The aim of the project is to develop managerial knowledge and skills of entrepreneurs, to promote self-employment of local people, to increase competitiveness, potential and efficiency of doing business. In addition, the project covers the development of incubatory, accelerating programs for start-ups, the development of the market of consulting and training services through the development of consultants and trainers.
At the solemn opening of the forum, Deputy Governor of West Kazakhstan region Mirzhan Satkanov delivered a welcoming speech. He noted that such projects are very important for increasing the economic potential of the region and such large companies as Shell Kazakhstan and the EBRD make an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and the country as a whole.
EBRD program manager for small business support in Kazakhstan Alma Kassymova in her speech spoke in detail about the conditions and stages of the project and expressed her hope that at the end of the project in October 2018 at least 15 participants will have business projects ready for implementation and financing through affordable SMEs support programs of state and international organizations.
“The experience of such programs shows that even those participants who pass only two or three modules, but for whatever reasons do not complete their business projects, they note the qualitative growth of their professional competencies and try to use the acquired knowledge in their work”, A. Kassymova noted.
Zarina Bakenova, the Government and External Relations Manager at Shell Kazakhstan, continued the solemn part of the forum and dwelt on the social projects implemented by the company.
“Shell LiveWIRE’s global program helps young entrepreneurs start their own businesses. The program currently operates in 18 countries. Since 1982, the program has supported more than 9.2 million young entrepreneurs. Since 2018 we have launched this program on the territory of our country, providing additional opportunities for local enterprises”, Z. Bakenova said.
In continuation of the event, successful Kazakhstani entrepreneurs shared the stories of their success with the participants in the format of “Pecha Kucha”. They talked about how to deal with the crisis, how to build relationships with customers and how not to recede to difficulties and move forward.
In the second part of the event Acting Director of the Regional Chamber of Entrepreneurs for West Kazakhstan region Marat Nurguatov spoke about priority programs for the development of the region and measures to support entrepreneurs provided by the state.
The next three hours the participants of the forum had the opportunity to pass two master classes from the country’s leading trainers. At the master class “Readiness for Entrepreneurship” of Victoriya Anshakova they learned to generate and commercialize business ideas, and at the master class of Kaisar Makan devoted to networking they learned about ways to find partners and clients through the network of contacts and ways of “tasty” filing of their business history.
During the panel session “How to get financing?” the representatives of the Damu Fund and second-tier banks told entrepreneurs about possible sources of financing and their projects in this direction.
Timur Khudaibergenov, the author of the book “From a taxi driver to a millionaire”, shared his personal story, which inspired many people. The participants of the forum had the opportunity to learn how to create a personal brand at the master class “Personal Strategy” of Denis Davydov, the founder of the “Impulse” business club.
At the end of the day, the results of the forum were summed up, the winners were awarded and a free discussion was held with the participants, where they could give feedback and share their impressions of the event.
We remind that the EBRD’s Small Business Advisory Program assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in obtaining consulting services, involving domestic consultants for this purpose on the basis of the principle of cost sharing. The EBRD has been supporting SMEs in Kazakhstan since 1998, having implemented more than 2,200 consultancy projects and providing enterprises with the practical skills and knowledge necessary for their development. Nowadays the EBRD has invested more than 8.7 billion dollars in the economy of Kazakhstan.
Shell LiveWIRE supports business development in countries where we have operational units. The Shell LiveWIRE program helps entrepreneurs start their own business by turning their ideas into sustainable sources of income, helping create workplaces and stimulate local economic growth in 18 participating countries. Since 1982, the program has supported more than 9.2 million young entrepreneurs. Since 2018, this program was launched on the territory of our country, providing additional opportunities for local enterprises.
The program helps to develop business skills, trains and conducts seminars, and also awards and associates entrepreneurs with opportunities in sectors that favors the local economy. The program also helps to facilitate access to finance, development, business acceleration, market access, technology and mentoring.
Source: Kazakhstan 2050