Russia rejects accusations of endangering ISS astronauts – .

Russia rejects accusations of endangering ISS astronauts – .

MOSCOW – 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 junk.

US officials on Monday accused Russia of destroying an old satellite with a missile in what they called a reckless and irresponsible strike. The debris could cause significant damage to the space station as it is in orbit at 17,500 mph (28,000 km / h).

Astronauts now face a risk four times greater than normal, NASA administrator Bill Nelson told The Associated Press.

The test clearly demonstrates that Russia, “despite its claims to oppose the militarization of outer space, is prepared to (…) jeopardize the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for its reckless and irresponsible behavior, ”said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. said in a statement.

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 top priority” in a vague statement online released 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 ”and called the comments of US officials“ hypocritical ”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also called “hypocrisy” to say that Russia is creating risks for peaceful activities in outer space.

After the situation cleared up early Monday morning, the four Americans, a German and two Russians aboard the International Space Station were ordered to immediately take cover in their moored capsules. They spent two hours in the two capsules, eventually emerging to only have to close and reopen the hatches of the station’s individual labs on each orbit, or an hour and a half, as they passed near or through them. debris.

NASA Mission Control said the increased threat could continue to disrupt scientific research and other work by astronauts. Four of the seven crew members did not arrive at the orbiting outpost until Thursday evening.

A similar weapons test by China in 2007 also yielded countless debris. One of them threatened to come dangerously close to the space station last week. Although this was later dismissed as a risk, NASA still had the station relocated.

Anti-satellite missile tests by the United States in 2008 and India in 2019 were conducted at much lower altitudes, well below the space station at about 260 miles (420 kilometers).


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