Russia broke its silence on Tuesday after the country’s military destroyed a non-functional satellite and sent cosmonauts and astronauts scrambling to the safety of vehicles that would take them back to Earth as the International Space Station flew near a cloud of debris.
While the Ministry of Defense boasted about the test’s accuracy, downplayed the dangers and accused the United States of ratcheting up military tensions in space, Roscosmos published a bland statement that basically said: Space safety? We’re in favor of it!
Russia’s space industry is a pioneer in crewed spaceflights and has been continuously working with international partners in this area for many decades.
Dozens of joint flights to the Mir orbital station and the International Space Station have created the conditions for reliable cooperation and international collaboration even in the most complex situations.
The productivity and effectiveness of joint work is confirmed by numerous cases of mutual assistance and support to multinational crews in orbit and mutual assistance of specialists on the ground within the joint work on the unprecedented and grandiose ISS project.
Ensuring crew safety has always been and remains our top priority.
Commitment to this principle is an underlying condition both in the manufacturing of Russian space equipment and in the program of its operation.
We are convinced that only joint efforts by all spacefaring nations can ensure the safest possible coexistence and activities in outer space.
The Russian Automated Warning System on Hazardous Situations in Outer Space (ASPOS OKP) continues monitoring the situation to prevent and counter all possible threats to the safety of the International Space Station and its crew.
They’re on it. That’s nice to hear. Except, it’s the Russian military that conducted the test. So, Roscosmos isn’t really in charge.
The United States has said the destruction of the 39-year old military reconnaissance satellite has created 1,500 large pieces of debris and many smaller ones. Just how much of a threat those pose to future operations of the space station and other satellites will be seen in the months and years ahead.