Space war fears as Russia targets own satellite in reckless missile test

WW3 fears have been sparked after Russia reportedly blew up one of its own satellites, with the US and the UK both condemning the incident.

The explosion blasted 1,500 pieces of debris into space and forced the International Space Station (ISS) crew – four Americans, two Russians and a German – to shelter in capsules, the BBC reports.

US state department spokesman Ned Price said: "Earlier today, the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites.

"The test has so far generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations."

He continued on to describe the Russian action as "dangerous and irresponsible", adding that it demonstrated the country's "claims of opposing weaponisation of space are disingenuous and hypocritical".

"The US will work with our partners and allies to respond to their irresponsible act," he said.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said he was outraged at the incident: "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".

"Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board."

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UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the test "shows a complete disregard for the security, safety and sustainability of space".

"The debris resulting from this test will remain in orbit putting satellites and human spaceflight at risk for years to come," he added.

Russian space agency Roscosmos however, downplayed the incident, tweeting: "The orbit of the object, which forced the crew today to move into spacecraft according to standard procedures, has moved away from the ISS orbit. The station is in the green zone.”

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov responded: "The US accusations that Russia allegedly creates risks for the peaceful use of space is hypocritical, there are no such facts.

"We would prefer that the United States, instead of unfounded accusations, actually sits down at the negotiating table and discusses its concerns about the treaty that Russia and China are proposing to prevent this arms race (in space).

"It would be very interesting for us not to hear excuses, but a concrete reasoned position."

The wayward material passed by without incident and appears to have come from a broken-up Russian spy-satellite, Kosmos-1408.

The satellite weighed over a tonne and had launched in 1982 but had ceased working many years ago.

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