Us Accuses Russia Of ‘Dangerous’ Behavior After Anti-Satellite Weapons Test

  • Posted on November 16, 2021
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The US has accused Russia of “dangerous and irresponsible behavior” after it conducted an anti-satellite weapons test that threatened the lives of the seven astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS).Russia fired a missile at one of its own satellites over the weekend, generating more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of pieces of smaller debris, which the US said “now threaten the interests of all nations”.Astronauts aboard the ISS were forced to float into special “lifeboat” pods following the release of the debris. The pods can detach from the ISS and fly crews back to Earth.“Needless to say, I’m outraged. This is unconscionable,” Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said. “It’s unbelievable that the Russian government would do this test and threaten not only international astronauts, but their own cosmonauts that are on board the station as well as the three people on China’s space station.”Nelson said the astronauts now faced a four times greater risk than normal with the ISS passing near or through the debris cloud every 90 minutes.His assessment was based on the risk from debris big enough to track. But hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces were going undetected – “any one of which can do enormous damage if it hits in the right place”.Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, also condemned Russia’s action and said satellites throughout Earth’s orbit were also now in jeopardy.The test clearly demonstrated that despite Russian claims that it opposed the weaponisation of outer space, it was “willing to imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior”, Blinken said in a statement.The UK defence minister Ben Wallace said: “This destructive anti-satellite missile test by Russia shows a complete disregard for the security, safety and sustainability of space.”Anti-satellite weapons tests are rare and are criticized by the space community, due to the risk they create for crews in low Earth orbit. Last year US space command accused Russia of having “made space a warfighting domain” after it fired a missile at a satellite as part of a weapons test.The Russian military and ministry of defense did not immediately comment.Earlier on Monday, amid reports that Russia had conducted an anti-weapons test, Nasa’s Russian counterpart, Roscomos, tweeted that the ISS crew had been forced to move into spacecraft owing to an “object” orbiting the Earth.https://www.theguardian.com/

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