Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have shown support for NASA astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, after a Russian news service made claims about her behavior aboard the International Space Station (ISS) back in 2018.
Russian news service TASS claimed that the NASA astronaut had an emotional breakdown aboard the ISS and even damaged a Russian spacecraft in order to be allowed to go back to Earth early.
According to a report by Ars Technica, TASS is a news service that "speaks with the authority of the Russian government."
NASA Astronaut Had Emotional Breakdown: TASS
NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor allegedly suffered an emotional breakdown in 2018 while aboard the ISS, according to claims by TASS. TASS also alleged that the NASA astronaut damaged a Russian spacecraft in order to be allowed to go back to Earth.
The Russian spacecraft in question is the Soyuz spacecraft. In 2018, a hole on the Russian spacecraft caused a leak in the space station.
The Soyuz Spacecraft Incident
After conducting a spacewalk to determine the cause of the hole on the Russian spacecraft, Russian astronaut Sergey Prokopyev said that the hole had been drilled from inside the ISS capsule.
NASA Astronaut Drew Feustel, the commander of the ISS at that time, denied that he or any member of the crew had deliberately sabotaged the Soyuz spacecraft.
In addition, NASA also knew exactly where the American astronauts were before and during the leak, according to the report by Ars Technica.
Per the Ars Technica report, "None of the US astronauts on the station were near the Russian segment where the Soyuz vehicle was docked."
However, this did not stop Russian news service TASS from claiming that Auñón-Chancellor was the culprit behind the leak. In fact, the report is "the first to name Auñón-Chancellor, to disclose a private medical condition, and then to make the incendiary claim that this condition led her to sabotage the space station."
NASA Officials Show Support for Astronaut
NASA officials have shown their support for Auñón-Chancellor ever since the claims against her have been made by TASS. Their show of support follows a bland initial statement from NASA that is said to have caused frustration over the lack of support for the NASA astronaut.
Kathy Lueders, NASA's chief of human spaceflight, emphasized that NASA astronauts are well-respected and have made valuable contributions to the American space agency as part of their service to the country. Her statement adds that NASA is standing behind Auñón-Chancellor and that the agency does not find any credibility in the accusations meant against her.
Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator, has also shown his support for the NASA astronaut in a post on Twitter. His statement says that he agrees with Lueders and that he will always stand behind the NASA astronauts.
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Written by Isabella James