Mystery of hole 'drilled into wall' of Space Station deepens

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If the mission proves successful, India will join an elite group of only three countries - Russia, US and China - which have the capability to launch a manned mission to outer space. As magical as space is, low Earth orbit is a risky place, and even the ISS isn't immune to dangers like cosmic radiation or micro-meteorite impacts. Early Thursday, Feustel will strap into another Soyuz - not the one where the hole was found - with NASA's Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev for the ride home to Earth.

NASA's statement comes after Roscosmos general director Dmitry Rogozin said the investigation has ruled out a manufacturing defect.

After saying farewell to their Expedition 56 crewmates - NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, German astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev - the departing trio will board the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft and close the hatch at 12:55 a.m. EDT (0455 GMT).

The odd tale started on August 29 with the discovery of a small hole in a Soyuz craft attached to the ISS.

However, NASA added, "This conclusion does not necessarily mean the hole was created intentionally or with mal-intent", as some media outlets interpreted Rogozin's remarks as suggesting.

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The Russian daily Kommersant reported that an investigation at home was probing the possibility that USA astronauts deliberately drilled the hole in order to get a sick colleague sent back home - something Russian officials later denied.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.

The landing came with Russian and United States officials investigating the appearance of a mysterious hole in a Russian space craft docked at the orbiting station.

A Russian space capsule with three men onboard has safely landed in a barren steppe in Kazakhstan after a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

One of them made a music video.