Russian MoD: US Perfectly Aware Fragments of Downed Satellite Pose No Threat to Space Activities
11:17 GMT 16.11.2021 (Updated: 12:19 GMT 16.11.2021)
On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price accused Russia of "recklessly" carrying out a destructive satellite test using an anti-satellite missile against a defunct Soviet satellite. Washington claims the test generated "over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris" which now "threaten the interests of all nations."
The Russian military confirmed Tuesday that it has carried out a successful test Monday involving the destruction of a dead Soviet Tselina-D radio-surveillance satellite, and stressed that the United States is well aware fragments of the satellite pose no threat to space stations, satellites or space activities in general.
"The Russian Ministry of Defence considers hypocritical the statements of the representatives of the State Department and the Pentagon, who attempted to accuse the Russian Federation of causing 'risks' to cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station and called for the 'development of universal norms that would govern the world community in space exploration'," the ministry said in a statement.
Russia, the military stressed, has repeatedly proposed initiatives at the United Nations to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space, but these initiatives have been struck down and blocked by the United States. "The draft treaty has been submitted to the UN. However, the United States and its allies are blocking its adoption. Washington openly declares that it does not want to be bound by any obligations in space."
15 November 2021, 19:44 GMT
The defence ministry stated that it is against this background that Russia is carrying out activities aimed at strengthening its defence capabilities and preventing other nations from damaging both its space- and ground-based equipment using "existing and prospective foreign space assets."
Russia, the MoD stressed, is not the first country to carry out tests of anti-satellite weapons, with the United States, China and India carrying out similar tests in recent years.
The MoD emphasised that it deems US activities in outer space to pose a threat to Russia's security, and to be incompatible with Washington's declared goals of the use of space only for peaceful purposes. As evidence, the military pointed to the Pentagon's "active" development and testing in orbit without any warning of new strike capabililties, including unmanned systems - such as the X-37 robotic orbital space plane.
The ministry also noted that 'Space Force', the newest branch of the US military, has among its aims the goal of creating "a comprehensive military advantage in space."
The Tselina-D satellite that was downed Monday was launched in 1982. The Tselina series of satellites was created by the Yuzhnoe Design Bureau, with development beginning in 1965, and the system deployed into service with the military in 1972. The Tselina-D was commissioned in 1976, and the Tselina-2 was delivered to the military and civilian space sector between 1988 and 1990.
In a statement Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price accused Moscow of creating a threat to "the interests of all nations" with its satellite weapons test, claiming the test generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris, and "hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris."
"Russia's dangerous and irresponsible behaviour jeopardises the long term sustainability of outer space and clearly demonstrates that Russia's claims of opposing the weaponisation of space are disingenuous and hypocritical. The United States will work with our allies and partners to respond to Russia's irresponsible act," Price added.
NASA indicated that the debris forced astronauts aboard the ISS to perform emergency actions, with the crew directed to close hatches to radial modules on the station, including Columbus, Kibo, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and the Quest Joint Airlock. Russia's Roscosmos confirmed that Russian cosmonauts were instructed
to shelter in the Soyuz spacecraft as a safety precaution.