Russia dismisses US claims of risking lives of ISS astronauts
- A Russia conducted test created 1,500 pieces of debris
- Russia called US "hypocritical" for raising such accusations
- NASA adminstrator said ISS astronauts now face boosted threat from space junk
Russia dismissed allegations from United States officials on Tuesday about a weapons test that risked the life of the astronauts on the International Space Station. The test reportedly resulted in at least 1,500 pieces of debris.
Soon after Russia conducted the test, United States officials tagged the act as an irresponsible and reckless strike, adding that the space junk could potentially be harmful for the International Space Station and the astronauts on board. The Cosmos 1408, which was blown up by Russia, was orbiting nearly 65 kilometers higher than the space station.
The increased threat to astronauts theory was also supported by Jens Stoltenberg, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA, added that the threat posed by space debris to astronauts was now four times greater, according to reports from Associated Press.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed Russia for conducting the test and said that the country, "despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, is willing to imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behaviour", according to reports from Associated Press.
However, officials of Roscomos-- the Russian counterpart of NASA-- were cryptic in a statement released on Tuesday. While not initially confirming or denying an outer space strike, the agency double downed and highlighted the importance of the "unconditional safety" of the astronauts.
However, later on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry of Russia confirmed the strike on a defunct satellite and went on to call the statements from the United States "hypocritical". Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, said the destruction of the space probe did not carry any threats and was carried out "with surgical precision".