A test with a Russian anti-satellite missile sparked a field of debris in low Earth orbit that endangered the International Space Station, they assure from the US Space Command It is the latest conflict between the two powers, in which the seven astronauts of the ISS have been affected, including two of Russian origin.
According to NASA, astronauts they were ordered to take refuge in the docked capsules for two hours after the Russian military test as a precaution in case a quick getaway was necessary.
Thousands of fragments “dangerous” according to the US and “in the green zone” according to Russia
The International Space Station was orbiting through or near the debris pile every 90 minutes, until after the third step the specialists determined that it was safe for the crew. At release, NASA explains that during the next few days it will continue to monitor the situation to verify that everything is safe.
It is not the first time that space debris has damaged the International Space Station. Experts warn that these tests of weapons that break satellites in orbit pose an added problem by dispersing the fragments and causing them to collide with other objects. A chain reaction of projectiles that can become dangerous.
According to Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, the first debris field passed at 2 a.m. ET and coincided with the station every hour and a half.
Here is the orbit of ISS (blue) compared to that of the Ikar No. 39L satellite (cover name Kosmos-1408) (magenta) and the part of the orbit where the crew have been warned of possible collisions with a debris field (red). This shows Kosmos-1408 is a plausible candidate pic.twitter.com/oGJtQxWxkV
— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) November 15, 2021
The US Space Command has been following these Russian tests for several years. Two tests were reported in 2020, but they did not appear to destroy any targets in space. Now, Russia would have tested these missiles to destroy an old satellite, the Kosmos 1408.
Total, up to 1,500 pieces of “traceable orbital debris” were generated after the destruction of the satellite, as described by the US Space Command “This debris from the missile test will continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and missions at risk. space, in addition to forcing more maneuvers to avoid collisions, “says James Dickinson, general of the US Army.
“It is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only to US and international astronauts associated with the ISS, but also to their own cosmonauts, “said Bill Nelson, NASA director. An action that would also have posed a threat to the Chinese space station that is being built, according to Nelson explains.
The @Space_Station crew is routinely performing operations according to the flight program.
The orbit of the object, which forced the crew today to move into spacecraft according to standard procedures, has moved away from the ISS orbit.
The station is in the green zone. pic.twitter.com/MVHVACSpmT
– ROSCOSMOS (@roscosmos) November 15, 2021
From the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos they have wanted to downplay the matter and they explain that “the orbit of the object, which forced the crew today to move towards the spacecraft in accordance with standard procedures, has moved away from the orbit of the ISS.” Ending that now the International Space Station “is in the green zone.”
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