The United States has blasted Russia for executing a “dangerous and reckless” missile test, which it claims put the crew of the International Space Station at jeopardy (ISS).
The test blew out one of Russia’s own satellites, resulting in debris that compelled the crew of the International Space Station to take refuge in capsules.
Seven crew members are now on board the station: four Americans, one German, and two Russians.
At a height of around 420 kilometers, the space station circles the Earth (260 miles).
“Earlier today, the Russian Federation foolishly conducted a damaging satellite test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites,” stated US State Department spokesman Ned Price during a press conference.
“The test has resulted in approximately 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of lesser orbital junk, which now pose a threat to all nations.”
Bill Nelson, the administrator of Nasa, expressed his indignation at the occurrence.
“It is unfathomable that Russia would risk not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts” and Chinese “taikonauts” atop China’s space station,” he said in a statement.
Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, downplayed the event.
“The object’s orbit has drifted away from the ISS, forcing the crew to shift into spacecraft in accordance with regular protocols today. The station is located in a green zone “The agency sent out a tweet.
The stray substance passed through without issue, but its source is currently being investigated.
It appears to have originated from Kosmos-1408, a defunct Russian spacecraft. It was a spy satellite launched in 1982 that weighed over a tonne and had been decommissioned for many years.
LeoLabs, a business that tracks space debris, claimed its radar equipment in New Zealand had picked up many items where the long-defunct spacecraft should have been.
Mr Price called Russia’s conduct “dangerous and reckless,” adding that it showed the country’s “claims of opposing space weaponization are false and hypocritical.”
He stated, “The United States will cooperate with its friends and allies to respond to their reckless behavior.”
The test, according to UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, “shows a blatant contempt for space security, safety, and sustainability.”
“The debris created by this test will linger in orbit for years, endangering satellites and human spaceflight,” he warned.