Shocking visualisations reveal the huge cloud of space junk created by Russia’s anti-satellite weapon test last week, which deliberately smashed a 40-year-old intelligence satellite into fragments.
Russia’s anti-satellite, or ASAT, launched on November 15, and purposefully shattered the country’s 4,410-pound Cosmos 1408 satellite, launched in 1982, because it was no longer operational.
According to experts, the space debris from last week’s collision over the Atlantic Ocean – which included ‘some 1,500 pieces of trackable size’ – will cause havoc for spacecraft for years, if not decades.
Because of the impact, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting 260 miles from Earth, were told to shelter for two hours to let the debris pass.
One space firm slammed Russia for endangering the crew of the ISS, calling it an ‘irresponsible act that harms all spacefaring nations’.
ISS usually orbits around 260 miles above Earth’s surface, though on Monday it was slightly lower at 250 miles, meaning the debris passed over it by a distance of about 20 miles as their orbits crossed.
However, astronauts aboard the ISS were ordered by Houston Mission Control to get to safety inside the ship’s escape pods.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Stacy Liberatore and Jonathan Chadwick