Another Russian satellite has turned into dangerous space debris.

A non-functioning Russian satellite, Resurs-P1, was torn apart in orbit because of the carelessness and irresponsibility of the Russians. It was launched in 2013 and has now left a pile of debris weighing more than six tonnes at an altitude of 350 km.

The US Space Command confirmed the event and reported that it resulted in more than 100 pieces of trackable debris (i.e. larger than 10 cm). The number of smaller pieces is an educated guess (usually an order of magnitude larger), but they are also dangerous.
After analyzing the problem, NASA ordered the crew of the International Space Station to take their seats in the manned spacecraft they had arrived in and docked to the ISS. It also told them to be ready for an emergency de-orbit if the ISS was damaged by debris from the Russian Resurs-P1 explosion. Test astronauts on the Boeing Starliner docked to the ISS also settled into their cockpits and prepared to evacuate.
Fortunately, an hour later, the revised calculations of the flying debris were complete, the call was made, and the ISS and Starliner resumed normal operations.

This is not the first time that Russia’s actions have threatened astronauts and the ISS. In 2019, the US Space Command announced that Russia had tested an anti-satellite missile that destroyed one of the Soviet spacecraft launched into orbit in the 1980s. The satellite’s destruction created about 1,500 pieces of debris that threatened the ISS and the Chinese space station. The ISS crew also had to be urgently prepared for a debris impact – the crew was immediately awakened and ordered to close the station’s radial module hatches and airlock. “It is inconceivable that Russia would endanger international partner astronauts on the ISS,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the time.

Of course, there are international sanctions against Russia. Still, for the safety of the ISS and the satellites of various countries in orbit, it is necessary to ban the Russians from any actions in space and to bring them to justice for what they have already done.

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