Russia has defended its anti-satellite test saying there is no threat to the International Space Station crew (ISS) or nearby satellites, the media reported.
Russia on Monday fired a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile that collided with its defunct satellite. According to NASA, it generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that can threaten the orbiting lab as well as space activities of all countries.
The satellite blow-up also forced the seven-person crew of the ISS, both US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, to take temporary shelter in their Soyuz and Dragon vehicles docked at the space station.
Russia’s Ministry of Defence issued a Russian-language statement defending the test, roughly translated as “the resulting fragments do not pose any threat to space activities”, Space.com reported.
The US State Department and NASA chief had condemned the anti-satellite test as “dangerous and irresponsible behaviour” by Russia, who is also a partner on the space station.
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos wrote on Twitter on Monday that the space debris cloud “has moved away from the ISS orbit”, which is roughly 400 km above Earth. The space debris tracker LeoLabs estimates the debris cloud is at 440 to 520 km in altitude. However, “the station is in the green zone,” Roscosmos added.
Roscosmos also issued a website statement praising the long-time collaboration of the ISS project, which Russia reportedly was considering leaving earlier this year due to US sanctions.
“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,” Roscosmos said in the statement, which was written in English.
“We are convinced that only joint efforts by all spacefaring nations can ensure the safest possible coexistence and activities in outer space,” Roscosmos added, noting that its own warning system on monitoring space debris is looking at the debris cloud “to prevent and counter all possible threats to the safety of the International Space Station and its crew”, the report said.
South Korea also expressed concern on Wednesday over the test and called for international efforts to use outer space in a “peaceful” and “sustainable” manner.
“We urge all countries to use outer space in a direction which is peaceful and sustainable over the long-term through responsible acts and to cooperate in developing related international norms,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a text message sent to reporters, Yonhap news agency reported.