The United States strongly condemned Russia’s destructive anti-satellite missile test against one of Russia’s own satellites, sending more than 1,500 pieces of trackable debris into orbit.
In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted, in addition to the dangers that such a test poses to astronauts and cosmonauts, the debris “will now also threaten satellites and other space objects that are vital to all nations’ security, economic and scientific interests for decades to come.”
The five astronauts and two cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) -- four Americans, one German and two Russians -- followed emergency procedures and took shelter in their docked capsules.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called Russia’s move “irresponsible and destabilizing.” He said, “With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening, as well, the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.”
The United States has repeatedly raised concerns with Russia over this kind of satellite test and resulting long-lived orbital debris, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
Secretary Blinken said, “The events of November 15, 2021 clearly demonstrate that Russia, despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, 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.”
He declared that the United States and its allies and partners will “seek to respond to this irresponsible act. We call upon all responsible spacefaring nations to join us in efforts to develop norms of responsible behavior and to refrain from conducting dangerous and irresponsible destructive tests like those carried out by Russia.”