Russia reportedly conducted an anti-satellite weapon test that created thousands of pieces of debris.
According to Jonathan McDowell, the Russian Federation has conducted a destructive anti-satellite missile test that created thousands of pieces of debris still being tracked.
Jonathan also noted that the debris cloud could be from a Russian satellite known as Kosmos-1408.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released the following statement about the incident:
“Earlier today, due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety.
“Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. 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.
“All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.
“NASA will continue monitoring the debris in the coming days and beyond to ensure the safety of our crew in orbit.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed the satellite was destroyed by an ASAT. “The Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct-ascent antisatellite missile against one of its own satellites,” he said at a Nov. 15 State Department briefing. “The test has so far generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations.”
He added that the test “will significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as to other human spaceflight activities.”
Russian space agency Roscosmos downplayed the incident.
“The orbit of the object, which forced the crew today to move into spacecraft according to standard procedures, has moved away from the ISS orbit. The station is in the green zone,” the agency tweeted.
In addition, earlier in Jan 2019, we reported that commercial satellite imagery shows hidden launch areas of the Russian anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weapon system in the area of Plesetsk in northern Russia.
The launch area of the newest PL-19 Nudol anti-satellite weapon system is located in the Plesetsk military base (approximately 800 kilometers north of Moscow), at the ex-launch site of the Cyclone-2 rocket.
Approximately, the construction of launch sites of new anti-satellite missiles began in late 2015 – early 2016, by the summer of 2017. The western site was ready, the construction of the eastern site was completed somewhat later.
The PL-19 Nudol anti-ballistic missile system should replace the current — Soviet-era A135 anti-ballistic missile system. It consists of the Don-2N battle management radar and three types of missiles installed on the MZKT-792911 chassis.