Sunday, December 5, 2021

Debris field after missile test – USA accuse Russia of endangering the ISS

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A missile test has apparently put the ISS in danger. The US accuses Russia of producing space debris through the test. That is why the ISS crew had to go to the rescue capsule at short notice.

The US has accused Russia of having put the International Space Station in danger with an anti-satellite missile test. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that Russia destroyed its own satellite in the test, creating “more than 1,500 traceable space debris”. In addition, “hundreds of thousands” of smaller fragments were created.

“This test will significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station and other manned space activities,” Price said. He accused Russia of “dangerous and irresponsible” behavior.

The seven astronauts on board the ISS – among them the German Matthias Maurer – had reportedly previously retired to two space shuttles docked at the space station because of space debris. The SpaceX Crew Dragon and Soyuz space capsules can be used for evacuation in an emergency.

As a result, there were suspicions that the space debris could have been produced by testing a Russian anti-satellite missile. Seradata, a company specializing in satellite data, said that one such test destroyed an old Soviet satellite called Cosmos 1408. Its debris could now have threatened the ISS. The Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell also thought this explanation was possible.

The space command of the US armed forces initially only said on Monday that it knew of a “debris-generating event in space”. “We are actively working on characterizing the debris field.”

The Russian space agency Roskosmos said that the debris field had moved away from the ISS. “The station is in the green zone.”

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