The United States condemned Russia on Monday for its anti-satellite missile test which destroyed one of its own satellites and created debris that the U.S. Space Command says could endanger space crews for decades.
After Russia shot down a satellite over the weekend using a direct-ascent, anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile, the agency said in a statement that it is “aware of a debris-generating event in outer space.”
Seradata, which operates a launch and satellite database, reported the satellite belonged to Russia and had been destroyed in an anti-satellite test. U.S. Space Command confirmed that the satellite in question was defunct and from the Soviet era.
#18SPCS has confirmed the breakup of COSMOS-1408 (INTLDES 1982-092A, SCC 13552), which occurred on NOV 15, 2021. Tracking 1,500 possible associated pieces – analysis is ongoing. #spaceflightsafety #spacedebris @spacetrackorg
— 18th Space Control Squadron (@18SPCS) November 15, 2021
U.S. Space Command has determined that the debris will be in orbit for years, maybe even decades, with the possibility of endangering crew on the International Space Station as well as satellites from other countries.
U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space commander went into more detail on Monday saying, “Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations.
“The debris created by Russia’s DA-ASAT 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,” Dickinson added.
“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 continued. “Russia’s tests of direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counter space weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations.”