A thick scattering of debris across space has been attributed to Russia after it blew up one of its satellites. Over 1,500 pieces of debris have been identified, although there are thousands of pieces too small to be picked up by tracking.
Crew-3 Dragon astronauts have had to shelter in place to avoid a field of debris set off by Russia’s blown-up satellite. Russia’s space agency Roscosmos conducted an anti-satellite test which resulted in a debris field circulating dangerously close to the International Space Station. The seven-person crew of Crew-3 Dragon is nearby and has had to pause operations to protect the astronauts.
“Earlier today, the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites,” said U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price in a press briefing this week.
“There are American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station. What the Russians did today with these 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris poses a risk not only to those astronauts, not only to those cosmonauts but to satellites and the interests of all nations.”
The U.S. Department of Defense says it was not given advanced notice the anti-satellite test to be conducted by Russia. Mr Price said the “reckless” nature of the test could threaten the relationship between the two nations, as well as the “sustainability of outer space”.
“The United States will work with our allies and partners to respond to Russia’s irresponsible act,” said Price.
“We are going to be working with allies and partners around the world to make very clear that this behaviour is not something the United States will tolerate.”
The United States spokespersons expressed a need for clearly established norms for behaviour in space to ensure outer space exploits are conducted responsibly.
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