US criticizes Russian anti-satellite test says it has created a ‘dangerous’ waste field

US criticizes Russian anti-satellite test says it has created a 'dangerous' waste field

• 4 min read

The United States on Monday condemned a Russian anti-satellite test against one of its own satellites that the U.S. said created a field of more than 1,500 pieces of debris that could remain in orbit for decades and pose a threat to other satellites.

“Earlier today the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive test of a direct–ascent anti satellite missile against one of its own satellites,” Ned Price, the State Department spokesman told reporters Monday.

The State Department criticized the Russian test as another example of what it said was Russia’s “dangerous and irresponsible behavior” in its space military operations.

Story Highlights

  • November 15, 2021, 7:50 PM

  • Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this article

Russian police and National Guard servicemen patrol Red Square in central Moscow on Oct. 20, 2021.

“This test has so far generated over fifteen hundred pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threatens the interests of all nations,” said Price.

“Russia’s dangerous and irresponsible behavior jeopardizes the long term sustainability of our space and clearly demonstrates that Russia’s claims of opposing the weapons and weaponization of space are disingenuous and hypocritical,” said Price in language not typically seen in diplomatic statements. Price said the test would “significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as to other human spaceflight activities.” That threat seems to have been borne out on Monday when the seven American and Russian crewmembers aboard the space station were ordered for a time to take refuge in their Dragon and Soyuz lifeboats as the space station repeatedly passed through an unspecified debris field.

Russia “is willing to jeopardize the long term sustainability of outer space and imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior,” the statement continued. The U.S. Space Command seal.

The new test involved the destruction of an orbiting satellite by a ground-based missile, that is a technology previously tested by Russia and China. In July 2020, the U.S. strongly criticized another Russian anti-satellite test involving a different anti-satellite technology as a “killer satellite” deployed a projectile in the direction of another satellite. Earlier on Monday, U.S. Space Command confirmed that it was “aware of a debris-generating event in outer space” and that it was “actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites if impacted. “