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. officers have warned allies that Moscow is constructing a navy presence on its border with Ukraine. And the protection 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 House Station on U.S. autos for seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Officers from each international locations contemplate such preparations key to sustaining operations on the area station.
“There are about 1,700 new objects, bigger objects which are 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’s going to take a couple of months to get all of these cataloged and into our regular particles monitoring course of, the place we are able to then assess miss distances and the way shut these things get to the I.S.S.”
Ms. Weigel stated that the Russian weapon take a look at doubled the scale of the background particles atmosphere for the area station. She stated that the brand new area of wreckage raised the danger to spacewalking astronauts by about 7 %. However she stated that “falls inside 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 international locations, 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 House 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 parts 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.