NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday slammed as “reckless” Russia’s destruction of a satellite that created a debris cloud he said was dangerous to orbiting space stations.
“This has created a lot of debris, which is now a risk to the International Space Station and also to the Chinese space station — so this was a reckless act by Russia,” Stoltenberg told journalists.
Russia’s defence ministry acknowledged destroying one of its satellites during a missile test to bolster its defence capabilities, but denied the move was dangerous.
US officials on Monday had denounced Moscow for the “irresponsible” test and said they had not been informed in advance.
NASA said the crew aboard the ISS — currently four Americans, a German and two Russians — were woken and forced to take shelter in their docked return ships.
Russia’s strike — the fourth ever to hit a spacecraft from the ground — reignited concerns about a growing arms race in space, encompassing everything from laser weapons to satellites capable of shunting others out of orbit.
Stoltenberg said it was a concern as it showed Moscow was working on weapons capable of striking critical infrastructure.
“It demonstrates that Russia is now developing new weapon systems that can shoot down satellites, can destroy important space capabilities for basic infrastructure on Earth like communications, like navigation, or like early warning of missile launches,” he said.
Russia dismisses U.S. concerns about missile test, danger to ISS crew
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 16, 2021 – The Russian government responded on Tuesday to U.S. accusations that a missile test in space that blew apart an old satellite has endangered the lives of several astronauts on the International Space Station.
Russia confirmed that it performed a missile test to destroy a satellite that’s been in orbit for almost 40 years, but rejected accusations that the resulting debris poses a threat to the ISS crew.
U.S. officials called the test “reckless” and “irresponsible,” saying that a large piece of debris colliding with the space station moving almost 18,000 mph could be extremely dangerous.
The ministry also said that the “unconditional safety” of the ISS crew is the top priority
“The United States knows for certain that the resulting fragments did not represent and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities in terms of test time and orbit parameters,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.
Seven astronauts are on board the International Space Station, including four who arrived only last week. Photo courtesy of NASA
Russian officials said the test was done to strengthen defense capabilities.
The missile test, which was conducted Monday, destroyed the satellite and created more than 1,500 pieces of debris. U.S. officials are concerned that some of the fragments could hit the space station and endanger seven astronauts on board.
Russian officials also noted that similar tests have been done by the United States, China and India.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, was scheduled to meet Tuesday with NASA representatives in Moscow.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the test demonstrates Russia’s willingness to jeopardize “long-term sustainability of outer space.”Internet Explorer Channel Network