‘Reckless’ Russian missile test blows up satellite, forcing ISS astronauts to seek refuge

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The ISS faced orbital obstacles on Monday.

NASA

Seven crew members aboard the International Space Station had to seek emergency shelter in a spacecraft anchored to the ISS on Monday due to a new, potentially hazardous waste field generated by a Russian anti-satellite test.

The astronauts huddled inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft after a Russian missile exploded one of the country’s dead spy satellites over the weekend.

The anti-satellite test was condemned on Monday by a spokesman for the US State Department. “The Russian Federation ruthlessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct ascending and anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites,” Ned Price told reporters, adding that the test had created over 1,500 new junk in orbit, which “will significantly increase the risk of astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as other human spaceflight activities. “

Price’s statement confirms previous reports from the U.S. Space Command about “a waste-generating event in outer space,” which CNN first reported was suspected by U.S. officials of coming from a Russian weapons test.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also weighed in, saying he was outraged at the “irresponsible” and “destabilizing” action.

“With its long history in human spaceflight, it is inconceivable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are ruthless and dangerous and also threaten the Chinese space station and the taikonauts. board, “Nelson said in a statement.

The cloud of debris that results from the test may look like the one left behind by a Chinese weapons test conducted in 2007 and linger in low orbit around the Earth for years. Just last week ISS escaped space debris from the 2007 test.

The company LeoLabs, which tracks private space debris, also reports that its radar data “confirms the detection of more objects close to the expected location of Cosmos 1408.” Cosmos 1408 (sometimes referred to as Kosmos-1408) is a long-gone Russian spy satellite launched in 1982.

“I would expect thousands of pieces of cataloged waste from a satellite the size of Kosmos-1408,” Harvard astronomer and lead satellite observer Jonathan McDowell said on Twitter.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said in a statement to the Russian news agency TASS that “the orbit of the object, due to which the crew had to move to the spacecraft according to the routine procedure, has moved away from the ISS ‘orbit. Station is in the green zone. ”

The astronauts on the ISS have returned to the main station, but continue to work with NASA to monitor the waste cloud and have changed their sleeping arrangements out of an abundance of caution, according to missions with mission control in Houston.

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