The weapon take a look at, carried out by Russia’s Ministry of Protection, occurred at a second of heightened tensions between america and Russia, as U.S. officials have warned allies that Moscow is constructing a army presence on its border with Ukraine. And the security threats to the area station posed by the missile take a look at additionally occurred as NASA is negotiating with Roscosmos, Russia’s area company, to commerce astronaut rides to the Worldwide Area Station on U.S. autos for seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Officers from each nations contemplate such preparations key to sustaining operations on the area station.
“There are about 1,700 new objects, bigger objects which might be being tracked,” Dana Weigel, NASA’s deputy supervisor of the area station, stated on Monday throughout a information convention that previewed the scheduled spacewalk. “It is going to take just a few months to get all of these cataloged and into our regular particles monitoring course of, the place we will then assess miss distances and the way shut this stuff get to the I.S.S.”
Ms. Weigel stated that the Russian weapon take a look at doubled the scale of the background particles setting for the area station. She stated that the brand new subject of wreckage raised the chance to spacewalking astronauts by about 7 %. However she stated that “falls throughout the household” of comparable threat calculations for previous spacewalks.
The Russian missile take a look at, which lifted off from the Plesetsk launch website, roughly 650 miles north of Moscow, angered U.S. officers and drew condemnation from different nations, together with Australia, Canada and Britain.
Invoice Nelson, NASA’s administrator, stated shortly after the take a look at that it was “pitiful that the Russians would do that.”
The spacewalk delay got here a day earlier than the White Home will convene the primary assembly of the Nationwide Area Council throughout the Biden administration. In a letter despatched to the council on Monday, lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee urged Vice President Kamala Harris, the council’s chairwoman, to behave on the Russian antisatellite take a look at and “work to develop worldwide dialogue on norms of accountable conduct in area.”
There have been a dozen spacewalks this yr, lots of which added new elements and photo voltaic panels to the area station’s exterior. NASA intends to maintain the 21-year-old orbital laboratory working till 2030, pending congressional approval. However the station has already proven indicators of its age, like cracks and air leaks that had been found on a key module in 2019.