The United States condemned, Monday, November 15, the firing by Russia of an anti-satellite missile, at the origin of thousands of debris which threatened the astronauts present in the International Space Station (ISS). ” Earlier [lundi], Russia irresponsibly conducted a destructive direct-ascension anti-satellite missile test against one of its own satellites ”US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, calling Moscow’s behavior “Dangerous”.
The US military said earlier today that it was investigating a “Event that generated debris” in the space. “The US Space Command is aware of an event that generated debris in space. We are actively working to characterize the debris field ”, said a spokesperson.
According to Mr. Price, this shot was “Generated over 1,500 traceable orbital debris, and hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces of orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations”. Without wanting to comment on possible retaliatory measures, he said that the United States “Would make it clear that they would not tolerate this kind of activity”. In addition, this missile fire “Shows that Russia’s claims that it opposes the militarization of outer space are spurious and hypocritical”, he added.
Seven ISS astronauts threatened
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said “The immediate concern concerns[ait] debris, which is now floating and could become a danger, including to the International Space Station ”. “We are looking closely at the type of resources that Russia seems to want to develop”, he added.
Monday morning, the seven astronauts on board the ISS had to take refuge in their ships docked at the station in order to prepare for a possible evacuation. The Russian space agency Roscosmos then declared the astronauts aboard the ISS out of danger, without mentioning a possible missile test. “The object’s orbit, which forced the crew today to travel to the spacecraft according to standard procedures, has moved away from the orbit of the ISS”, Roscosmos tweeted. “The resort is now in the green. “” Friends, everything is in order with us. We continue the work according to our program “, a also tweeted Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
According to the specialized media Spaceflight Now, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, had taken refuge in SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, aboard which they arrived only a few days ago. The American astronaut Mark Vande Hei and the two Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Piotr Doubrov went to the Soyuz spacecraft. These precautionary measures are part of an emergency procedure for the departure of the ISS to reach Earth. All had returned to the interior of the ISS in the middle of the day Monday, according to the same source.
The missile fire from Moscow is a show of force. Such a shot has already been carried out by only four nations in the past, including Russia, and is widely criticized, in particular because of the large amount of debris generated, which then becomes dangerous projectiles.