U.S. Response to Russian Anti-Satellite Test
Russia tested a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile on November 15, 2021, Moscow Standard Time, that struck a Russian satellite (COSMOS 1408) and created a debris field in low-Earth orbit. The test so far has generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris.
In response to the event, the U.S. government issued several statements criticizing Russia’s behavior.
Gen. James Dickinson of U.S. Space Command stated, “The debris created by Russia’s DA-ASAT will continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and space missions at risk, as well as forcing more collision avoidance maneuvers.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The events of November 15, 2021, clearly demonstrate that Russia, despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, is willing to jeopardize the long-term sustainability of outer space and imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts.”
Additional Debris Tracking Information
U.S. Space Command continues to monitor the trajectory of the debris and will work to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to safeguard their on-orbit activities if impacted by the debris cloud, a service the United States provides to the world, to include Russia and China. The information is available at www.space-track.org.