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Russian officials on Tuesday dismissed accusations that they endangered astronauts aboard the International Space Station by performing a weapons test that created more than 1,500 space debris.
US officials on Monday accused Russia of destroying an old satellite with a missile in what they called a reckless and irresponsible strike. They said the debris could damage the space station, an assessment backed by the NATO chief.Astronauts now face a risk four times greater than normal from space waste, NASA administrator Bill Nelson told The Associated Press. The late Russian satellite Cosmos 1408 was in orbit about 65 kilometers higher than the space station.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the test clearly demonstrated that Russia, “despite its claims to oppose the militarization of outer space, is prepared to (…) jeopardize exploration and the use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior. “
Russia denounces “hypocrisy”
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has neither confirmed nor denied that the strike took place, saying only that “the unconditional safety of the crew has been and remains our main priority”, in a statement Tuesday.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday confirmed it had tested and destroyed a dead satellite that has been in orbit since 1982, but insisted that “the United States knows for sure that the resulting fragments, in terms of test and orbital parameters, have not been and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities. “
He called the words of US officials “hypocritical”.
div>WATCH | How the astronauts coped with the emergency:
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