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The U.S. is denouncing the nation of Russia for launching an anti-satellite missile into a Russian satellite, resulting in orbiting debris that will pose a risk to spacecraft and space travelers for years into the future.
“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, said in a statement.
He said that the debris “will continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and space missions at risk, as well as forcing more collision avoidance maneuvers. Space activities underpin our way of life and this kind of behavior is simply irresponsible.”
“Russia is developing and deploying capabilities to actively deny access to and use of space by the United States and its allies and partners,” Dickinson noted. “Russia’s tests of direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counterspace weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations.”
According to USSPACECOM, Russia’s action has already created over 1,500 items of trackable debris.
“The test so far has generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris,” USSPACECOM noted.
The space junk could continue to orbit the planet for years or possibly even decades, representing a hazard to people aboard the International Space Station, as well as to other human space travel, and to the satellites of multiple nations, according to USSPACECOM.
“Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.