- Russia destroyed a satellite with an anti-satellite missile early Monday.
- The United States condemned the test, which it says created hazardous waste fields.
- The condemnation came after the crew at the International Space Station had to take shelter in response to a threat of space debris.
Russia destroyed one of its satellites in a test of an anti-satellite missile with direct takeoff early Monday, the U.S. State Department said Monday afternoon.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at a news briefing that Russia “ruthlessly” carried out the “destructive” test and generated more than 1,500 larger, traceable space debris and hundreds of thousands of smaller debris that “would significantly increase the risk.” and cosmonauts on the International Space Station. “
“Russia’s dangerous and irresponsible behavior jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of our outer space and clearly demonstrates that Russia’s claims to oppose the creation of space weapons are irreparable and hypocritical,” he added.
A spokesman for the department said the United States would work with its allies and partners to respond appropriately.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a separate briefing that the Department of Defense shares these concerns, stating that “the most immediate concern is the waste itself,” which could become a danger to the ISS.
These remarks follow a statement from the U.S. Space Command earlier in the day acknowledging a “waste-generating event.”
The U.S. Space Command said it “is aware of a waste-generating event in outer space,” adding that it “is actively working to characterize the waste field and will continue to ensure that all space nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites. , if affected. “
Private space tracking and data analysis company Seradata said that the Russian AST test It appeared to have hit the dead Soviet satellite Kosmos-1408, a Tselina-D satellite launched in the early 1980s as part of a constellation of intelligence-gathering assets, The War Zone reported.
The United States is concerned that the cloud of space debris from the anti-satellite weapons test, which involved a ground-fired missile designed to eliminate low-Earth orbit satellites, could threaten the ISS and the seven people on the space station appear to be well-founded.
Early Monday morning, crews on the ISS were forced to seek refuge in their Dragon and Soyuz evacuation spacecraft in response to the sudden onset of potentially hazardous space debris. The US government did not specifically state that the waste threatening the ISS was from the Russian test, although the timing of this development is remarkable.
There are tens of thousands of pieces of space debris orbiting the planet, and when things collide, more debris explodes outward at high speed. These pieces, both large and small, pose a threat to systems such as the ISS and other human space activities.
Anti-satellite weapons tests exacerbate an already serious problem. For example, The New York Times reported last week that the International Space Station had to maneuver to avoid a piece of space debris generated by an anti-satellite weapons test conducted by China in 2007.