'dangerous and irresponsible'
Russia is insisting it didn't put astronauts in danger after conducting an anti-satellite missile test that the United States called out as "irresponsible."
Russia's Ministry of Defense confirmed on Tuesday it conducted a test that hit a Russian satellite, but it contended that "the resulting fragments, in terms of test time and orbital parameters, did not and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities," NBC News reports.
The claim comes after the United States called out Russia for its actions, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying the "the long-lived debris created by this dangerous and irresponsible test will now threaten satellites and other space objects that are vital to all nations' security, economic, and scientific interests for decades to come." State Department spokesman Ned Price said the test "generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris," as well as "hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris."
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Monday he was "outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action," adding it's "unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts." According to Nelson, astronauts had to undergo emergency safety procedures as a result of the debris generated. Nelson also told The Washington Post he was "quite concerned" about the astronauts' safety and that the debris could do "serious damage," while Price argued Russia's actions demonstrated that its "claims of opposing the weaponization of space are disingenuous."