Hear the voice recording of the communication between mission control and ISS after the Russian satellite was shot down. Credit: ESA

Hear the Moment ISS Astronauts Rushed to Safety After Russia Tested Weapons in Space

The Russian military confirmed that they tested anti-satellite weapons in space and caused the explosion that put the International Space Station at risk.

Four days ago, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station were told to seek shelter in escape vehicles due to an incoming danger – a cloud of space debris left from a Russian satellite that exploded. Two days later, we received an audio recording of the exact moment the astronauts received the message and were rushed to evacuate. 


Hear the moment the ISS was put on alert

In the recording, you hear the exact moment mission control contacted the astronauts early in the morning and informed them to start preparing for potential impacts.

Later in the recording, you can hear the commander of the latest Crew-3 mission, Raja Chari. He informed mission control that if the collision event lasts more than 30 minutes, his crew will remain suited in the Crew Dragon spacecraft and consider returning back to Earth.

Fortunately, the International Space Station passed through two clouds of debris without taking damage. Astronauts had to take cover on two occasions through that day. The first drill lasted two hours but another 90 minutes later, the crew was ordered to evacuate again due to a second debris cloud.

The Russian military confirmed that it tested an anti-satellite weapon on an old satellite

A day after the satellite that caused the debris exploded, we got an official answer from the Russian military – they tested an anti-satellite weapon, in the course of which an old Soviet Tselina-D satellite was destroyed.

However, Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the wreckage is a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft, and space activities. This is a strange reaction, as the ISS had to change its orbit twice yesterday to avoid a cloud of rubbish.

The Russian satellite before and after the test. Credit: Numerica Corporation
The Russian satellite before and after the test. Credit: Numerica Corporation

Russian authorities also downplayed what happened, explaining that “in the past, such tests have been performed by the United States, China, and India.”

However, this is very misleading. Although the testing of anti-satellite weapons is a serious problem and should not be done by any country, there is a difference between the tests of the United States and India, in which satellites were struck at an altitude of 200-300 kilometers. These regions of Earth’s orbit are self-cleaning and most debris falls within a few months.

The tests of Russia and China are of a completely different order – these countries have struck satellites at an altitude of about 500 kilometers, where garbage remains orbiting the Earth for decades.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the accusations that the Russian Federation creates risks in outer space are hypocrisy.

Lavrov also recalled that Washington calls on Moscow to develop universal norms for the exploration of outer space, but at the same time the United States has been ignoring the initiative of Russia and China for the preparation of a treaty on the prevention of an arms race in outer space for several years now.

He stated that instead of mutual accusations, there should be negotiations for the prevention of an arms race, which is something the United States does not want. He called for specific reasoned positions for this refusal instead of excuses.

Last but not least, Lavrov explained that the United States has been testing various advanced attack weapons in orbit without warning. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement confirms “its readiness to discuss the entire spectrum of space security issues with all interested states, including the United States.”


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Sources:

Cobb, W. W. (2021, November 17). Russian anti-satellite weapon test: What happened and what are the risks? The Conversation.
Drake, N. (2021, November 16). Russia just blew up a satellite-here’s why that spells trouble for spaceflight. Science.
Gohd, C. (2021, November 17). Russian anti-satellite missile test was the first of its kind. Space.com.
Tran, T. (2021, November 17). Hear the moment ISS crew scrambles for safety from Russian satellite debris. Futurism.
Yang, M. (2021, November 16). Russia admits to anti-satellite missile test but denies ‘dangerous behavior’. The Guardian.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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