US accuses Russia of putting Space Station at risk over missile tests

The United States and Russia have exchanged opposing views on the security of the International Space Station after the debris generated by a Russian anti-satellite test.

The destruction of an old Soviet-era satellite with a ground-launched missile on November 15 generated a cloud of orbiting pieces of debris.

Its trajectory forced the station’s seven crew members – two Americans, one German and two Russians – as the debris cloud approached the orbital complex every 90 minutes. There is no record of damage.

not only to the international associate astronauts on the ISS, but also to their own cosmonauts ”, declared NASA administrator Bill Nelson on his Twitter account, who seconded a protest statement from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Later, Roscosmos responded this Tuesday in the same way: “For us, the main priority has been and continues to be to guarantee the unconditional safety of the crew ”.

He added that the orbit of the debris, by which the crew were forced, according to standard procedures, to move to their spacecraft, had moved away from the orbit of the Space Station and that the orbital complex

Roscosmos added that the Russian Automatic Alert System for Dangerous Situations in Near-Earth Space (ASPOS OKP) continues to monitor the situation to prevent and counter all possible threats to the security of the International Space Station and its crew.

According to NASA’s account, following the detection of the debris produced by the Russian test, the crew was awakened and instructed to close the hatches of the radio modules at the station, including Columbus, Kibo, the Permanent Module. multipurpose, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module and the Quest Joint Airlock. The hatches between the US and Russia segments remained open.

One passed over two passes through or near the debris cloud. The crew members made their way to their ships and remained there for two hours, taking refuge inside twice as the station passed near the debris cloud.

Russia admits testing

Russia admitted on Tuesday to having destroyed its own satellite during the test of a space missile, although it denied having endangered the crew of the International Space Station and called the accusation of the United States “hypocritical” in this regard.

“The Russian Defense Ministry has successfully carried out a test, as a result of which the spacecraft ‘Tselina-D’, which has been in orbit since 1982the Russian military said in a statement.

The launch of this missile had been advanced the day before from the United States, which accused Moscow of causing a cloud of debris threatening the ISS astronauts.

According to Washington, the seven astronauts aboard the ISS had to temporarily take refuge in their ships to prepare for an eventual emergency evacuation.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were the only countries to have launched space missiles so far.

“To declare that the Russian Federation created risks for the civilian exploitation of space is hypocritical to say the least. There is no fact in this regard”, Said Lavrov.

The Russian diplomatic chief also indicated that the United States “Ignored the proposals of Russia and China for an international agreement to prevent an arms race in space” and added that in 2020 “They created a space command and adopted a strategy, one of whose objectives was to establish

The discord highlights the risk of a militarization of space, one of the few fields where Washington and Moscow still maintain a relatively stable cooperation despite their many discrepancies.

On the eve, the head of NASA Bill Nelson said “indignant” and the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, stressed that the debris cloud would threaten space activities

“Only the joint efforts of all space powers will be able to ensure the safest possible coexistence and operations in the space realm,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

According to the Russian public press agency TASS, NASA officials will talk with the director of Roscosmos, Dmitri Rogozin, in the morning.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, condemned this Tuesday the “irresponsible” act of destruction of a satellite in orbit by Russia as part of the tests of a new system of armament.

For her part, the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, charged this Tuesday on Twitter against the “looters of space”, after the destruction by the Russian army of a satellite in orbit.

Militarization of space

The incident rekindled fears of seeing space transformed into a battlefield between great powers, eager to

Until now, Moscow had raised its voice against any attempt to militarize space, where only the United States, China and India had conducted anti-satellite missile tests.

However, Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer stressed to AFP that Moscow had never hidden that it had systems capable of

These include the S-500 and S-550 defense systems, capable according to the army of reducing satellites to rubble, he said.

“Russia has always said that it was against the deployment of weapons in space, but not that it was against the use of weapons in space,” The expert from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta points out that there is no “formal” prohibition of this type of weapon in international law.

Monday’s alleged launch may have generated a huge amount of debris that is on which many activities such as communications or geolocation depend.

Destroying satellites of other countries or deploying offensives in space can offer a strategic military advantage, but the development of these capabilities can unleash an arms race with unpredictable consequences.

Despite their usual cooperation, diplomatic dynamics on Earth have also peppered Russian-American cooperation in space.

An example is the commitment of Moscow and Beijing to deepen their aerospace cooperation against Western powers.

Agencies

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