Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff

Anti-satellite weapon test: Did Russia start a space war?

The United States cracked down on Russia for testing the anti-satellite weapons calling the tests "reckless". State Department spokesman Ned Price said that space debris caused by the destruction of the satellite jeopardised the safety of the International Space Station (ISS), TASS reports.

"Earlier today, the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites," US state department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing.
"The test has so far generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations."

Russia's actions pose a threat to long-term sustainability of outer space. The State Department spokesman also accused Moscow of insincerity in its stance about the deployment of weapons in space. He said the United States will work with its partners and allies to prepare a response to such actions.

Russia did not inform the United States

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated that the department was concerned about the tests of anti-satellite weapons conducted by Russia. Moscow did not inform Washington about them, he added. Kirby set out a hope that space powers of the world would respect international rules for the use of outer space.

"We share the concern that our State Department colleagues stressed earlier today about this test," Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a news briefing today at the Pentagon.
Kirby added that "the most immediate concern is the debris itself, which is now floating out there and could become a hazard including to the International Space Station."

Earlier, Mission Control reported that the ISS could come close to space debris. Instructions stipulate the crew remains on board the ship as the station approaches a potentially dangerous object.

During the talks of the ISS crew with the Earth, it was noted that space debris flew past the ISS, cosmonauts and astronauts were able to return to their work, but it was said that the debris may pose a threat to the station again in about 90 minutes.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia neglected the safety of outer space as the tests of its anti-satellite weapons thereby created a threat to satellites and spacecraft.

"The destructive anti-satellite missile test by Russia shows a complete disregard for the security, safety and sustainability of space. The debris resulting from this test will remain in orbit, putting satellites and human spaceflight at risk for years to come," Ben Wallace, the UK Secretary of Defense said on Twitter.

What is happening on board the ISS

According to recommendations from the US Mission Control Center, astronauts aboard the ISS will keep all inner hatches closed throughout Tuesday, November 16, due to the risks posed by space debris, TASS reports.

The hatches between the main modules of the International Space Station should be left closed for the time of the works to track the debris left from the destruction of the satellite.

Earlier it became known that the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin would discuss the problem of space debris with representatives of NASA on Tuesday, November 16.

Due to the space debris incident, the range of the topics for discussion will be expanded. Joel Montalbano, NASA Program Manager on the ISS, and NASA Associate Administrator Robert Cabana will take part in the meeting.

Russian military confirm destruction of Soviet satellite

The Russian military confirmed the destruction of the Soviet Tselina-D satellite in orbit. However, its debris did not and will not pose a threat to orbital stations and space activities.

"On November 15 of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry successfully conducted a test, as a result of which the defunct Russian Tselina-D spacecraft, which had been in orbit since 1982, was destroyed," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The United States knows for certain that the resulting debris did not pose and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities in terms of the test time and orbit parameters," the military department said.

The debris was included in the main catalog of the domestic space control system and was immediately taken for tracking until it fell apart.

"Previously, similar tests in outer space were carried out by the United States, China and India," the Russian military noted.

Earlier, the US space command said that Russia shot down the Soviet satellite Cosmos-1408 during the anti-satellite weapon test.

On November 15, 2021, Russia tested a satellite intercept rocket with direct injection into orbit. The rocket struck the Russian Cosmos-1408 satellite, which led to the creation of debris in low near-Earth orbit, US officials said.

According to the US Space Command, as many as 1,500 fragments were formed, all of them could be monitored. At the same time, the US military believes that as a result of the test in orbit, "hundreds of thousands" of smaller debris will also appear, which cannot be tracked.

Russia did not violate international agreements

Russia has not violated international agreements by testing an anti-satellite weapon, the former head of the 4th Central Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Vladimir Dvorkin told Interfax on Tuesday.

"There is no direct violation of any international agreement. We should not warn anyone when we test our systems, be they anti-missile or anti-satellite ones. We are not obliged to warn anyone about this," Dvorkin stressed out.

Russia sends warnings to the United States when it test-launches ICBMs. This does not apply to the tests of missile defense systems (ABM).

However, according to him, after the Russian test, the US military have obtained a trump card, as it will give them a reason to ask for additional funds for their programs.

Russia keeps everything under control

Rosсosmos announced the monitoring of the situation in orbit to protect the ISS against the background of US statements about the test of the anti-satellite weapon.

"The Russian automated warning system for dangerous situations in near-earth space continues to monitor the situation in order to prevent and counter all possible threats for the safety of the International Space Station and its crew," the message says. The state corporation also said that the safety of the ISS crew is a priority for Roscosmos.

Roscosmos said that it is only joint efforts of all space powers that will ensure the safest possible coexistence and activity in outer space.

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