US Claims Russia Destroys Its Own Satellite, Creating Hazardous Space Debris

The United States has publicly criticized Russia for sending a land-to-orbit missile to destroy one of its own orbiting satellites, creating dangerous orbiting debris. It is believed the debris will constitute a navigation hazard for spacecraft and space travelers for many years.

US Space Command commander Gen. James Dickinson issued a statement declaring that Russia has deliberately disregarded the safety, security, and stability of the “space domain for all nations.”

Dickinson added that the debris creates a threat to activities in space for years to come, placing “satellites and space missions at risk” and forcing future missions to engage in more “collision avoidance maneuvers.” He described the Russian act as “simply irresponsible.”

He went on to say that the Russians are developing the capability to deny access to space and use of space by the US and its allies. According to Dickinson, the counter space weapon system, described as a “direct-ascent anti-satellite weapon,” shows that Russia intends to threaten the strategic ability of all nations.

The US Space Command has said that the event has created more than 1,500 pieces of trackable space debris in orbit. Its report said that the Russian test is likely to eventually generate hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces of orbital debris.

The report stated that some of the debris could remain in orbit for decades and could present a threat to personnel on the International Space Station and other crewed missions in addition to international orbiting satellites.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that he is outraged by Russia’s “irresponsible and destabilizing” missile test. He added that it is “unthinkable” that Russia would place its cosmonauts in danger along with space travelers from the US and other nations.