WASHINGTON – The United States is blasting Russia for carrying out a missile test that it calls "dangerous and irresponsible." Russia's risky move created an explosion of debris that now threatens space travel and astronauts on the International Space Station.
The anti-satellite "test" obliterated one of Russia's own satellites, and now the vast debris field is orbiting Earth.
U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price strongly condemned the move saying, "The test has so far generated over 1,500 pieces of traceable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations."
The debris forced crew members on the International Space Station – including four Americans – to scramble into their spacecraft for safety. The crew had to shelter for nearly two hours before they were given the clear.
And it's not just Americans – the test also put two Russian cosmonauts in danger.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized the Russians, calling their test "dangerous and irresponsible." He also noted the debris will remain a threat "for decades."
U.S. officials are emphasizing long-term dangers and potential global economic fallout. The test created hazards for satellites that provide phone and broadband service, weather forecasting, GPS systems that support aspects of the financial system including bank machines, and more.
The debris field from the Russian missile could also endanger the Chinese Space Station which right now is carrying three astronauts.