As we reported, on Monday morning, the International Space Station residents quickly retreated to their spacecraft as the station underwent emergency procedures. A Russian anti-satellite test created a massive field of debris in orbit, putting Astronauts and Cosmonauts at risk.
Now, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has released a statement condemning Russia’s actions.
As our previous post detailed, Russia conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test against its own Kosmos 1408 spy satellite early Monday morning.
This test destroyed the satellite, creating a debris field of at least 1,500 pieces of debris with thousands more untraceable. This field posed a risk to the International Space Station and its residents, who had to shelter in their respective spacecraft.
While in the past, even the United States has conducted ASAT tests, this posed a notable risk to the Astronauts and Cosmonauts on board the International Space Station, prompting responses from the US Department of State, US Space Command, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Earlier today, due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety.
“Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.
“All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.
“NASA will continue monitoring the debris in the coming days and beyond to ensure the safety of our crew in orbit.NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
Nelson shared the NASA statement on Twitter, calling Russia’s actions “unthinkable.”
While the US and Russia are partners in space, that relationship is often stressed. This ASAT test is just one in a number of events that raise tensions between the countries. NASA is still pushing to return to the seat-for-seat trade that existed between the Space Shuttle and Soyuz with SpaceX’s Dragon, but Roscosmos has been hesitant.
While the Roscosmos Director General Rogozin may have said Crew Dragon is safe enough for Cosmonauts last month, the delayed opening of a parachute during Crew-2’s return likely put a hamper on his desire to put Cosmonauts on board, even as NASA is confident all is well.
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