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U.S. warns Russian anti-satellite missiles put astronauts in danger

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The US State Department said Russia tested an anti-satellite missile in a “destructive” operation on Monday, and the debris from the missile put astronauts on the International Space Station in danger.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken stated that Russia had “desperately conducted a destructive test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile on one of its own satellites” earlier in the day.

Brinken said that this test has produced more than 1,500 “traceable orbital debris, and may generate hundreds of thousands of smaller orbital debris,” threatening people working on the International Space Station and “other human spaceflight activities.” “.

These actions “clearly show that Russia, despite its claims to oppose the weaponization of outer space, is willing to endanger the long-term sustainability of outer space through its reckless and irresponsible actions, and endanger the exploration and use of outer space by all countries”, Brinken Say. He added that the United States will respond in cooperation with its allies and partners.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that due to debris, astronauts and astronauts on the International Space Station must be awakened to perform emergency safety procedures. He said the debris also threatened Chinese personnel on the Chinese space station and the ship.

“[I]It’s hard to imagine that Russia will not only endanger the United States
And the international partner astronauts on the International Space Station, and their own
astronaut.Their behavior is reckless and dangerous,” Nelson said in
A statement instructing additional personnel to close some hatches
be careful.

“NASA will continue to monitor debris and
To ensure the safety of our crew members on orbit,” he added.

The agency stated that the International Space Station will pass through or approach the debris cloud every 90 minutes.

After Washington publicly warned Moscow not to invade Ukraine last week, tensions between the United States and Russia escalated. This test was conducted on this occasion. Officials were shocked by the assembling of as many as 114,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.

This is not the first time that states have tested missiles on satellites. During the Cold War, the United States and Russia designed and tested anti-satellite weapons. This missile can theoretically shoot down enemy satellites that control intelligence and communications, and threaten to turn space into a theater of war.

Recently, China and India have also tested various aspects of anti-satellite systems. In 2007, China blew up one of its own failed satellites and produced more than 35,000 pieces of debris, which aroused condemnation from the international community. A recent RAND report described the incident as “the largest debris-generating incident to date.”

Bruce said: “This incident clearly poses a risk to the International Space Station, but depending on the energy and angle of the impact, it also poses a risk to other satellite constellations in this part of the low earth orbit, including elements of the SpaceX Starlink constellation,” RAND Space McClintock of Business Plan.

“Although the short-term action to protect the astronauts on the space shuttle is the most urgent, this incident clearly reminds people of the importance of prohibiting anti-satellite tests that generate debris. The generation of debris affects everyone.”

Governments are paying more and more attention to the issue of space debris, because debris as small as a fingernail can cause huge damage to spacecraft in orbit. Currently, nearly 30,000 orbiting objects are being tracked regularly, but it is estimated that there are objects over 1 m that are too small to be tracked.

With a record number of satellites being launched into low-Earth orbit, many in the aerospace industry have publicly called for international cooperation on new rules to manage space behavior. Falling launch costs and cheaper satellites make it possible for private companies to develop commercial space services, such as satellite broadband or earth observation.

However, SpaceX alone hopes to launch more than 40,000 satellites, followed by Amazon and dozens of other satellites. Many in the industry are increasingly worried about the risk of collisions producing more debris, which may threaten the sustainability of space. sex.

The “Kessler Syndrome” model outlines a catastrophic scenario in which the debris from a collision triggers a series of collisions and ultimately closes the safe passage into space.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics that tracks space activities, said on Twitter: “I condemned the Chinese test in 2007, the U.S. test in 2008, and the Indian test in 2019. I also condemned this time. Testing. Anti-satellite testing that generates debris is a bad idea and should never be done.”

Mike Rogers, the most senior Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee, called the report of the Russian test “worrisome” and stated that such incidents “are precisely why we established the Space Command and the Space Force.”

“Space has become a field of warfare,” he said. “The Biden administration must support rapid national defense modernization with a focus on space. I am afraid that this test, like China’s anti-satellite test in 2007, will affect space for many years.”

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