Russian anti-satellite missile test draws condemnation
The US has condemned Russia for conducting what it believes to be a dangerous and irresponsible missile test, alleging that the test endangered crew members aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which currently hosts four Americans, a German, and two Russians. The test blew up one of Russia’s own satellites, creating debris that forced the ISS crew to shelter in capsules. The ISS orbits at an altitude of 420km. The US State Department released a statement regarding the incident, calling the testing reckless and destructive. The test resulted in 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and thousands of pieces of smaller debris.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson also expressed his outrage over the incident. Nelson stated that Russia endangered both American and Russian lives aboard the ISS as well as Chinese astronauts currently at China’s space station. Russian space agency Roscosmos downplayed the incident, stated that the ISS is in the green zone and that there was no cause for concern. Roscosmos also tweeted that the crew moved into spacecraft to shelter according to standard procedures. The debris came from a Russian satellite called the Kosmos-1408, launched in 1982 as a spy satellite. It weighed over a tonne and has been out of commission for several years.