In the early hours of Monday morning, the International Space Station crew had to take precautions as a cloud of junk showed up in their orbit.
Russia had tested anti-satellite missiles, destroying an old satellite, which is likely where the debris came from, the Daily Mail reported.
But even though it was an old Russian satellite that was destroyed, the test “created a field of 1,500 pieces of debris endangering the crew of the International Space Station,” according to the Daily Mail. Some of the crew members were Russian.
The European Union Space Commissioner Thierry Breton took to Twitter to voice his concern and condemnation. “As Commissioner in charge of EU #Space policy and in particular of Galileo & Copernicus, I join the strongest condemnations expressed against the test conducted by Russia on Monday 15 Nov., which led to the #destruction of a #satellite in low orbit (COSMOS 1408).”
As ?? Commissioner in charge of EU #Space policy and in particular of Galileo & Copernicus, I join the strongest condemnations expressed against the test conducted by Russia on Monday 15 Nov., which led to the #destruction of a #satellite in low orbit (COSMOS 1408).#thread ?⤵️ pic.twitter.com/GuLVwrGGaq
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) November 16, 2021
The State Department also commented almost immediately and called out Russia for this haphazard behavior.
“Russia’s dangerous and irresponsible behavior jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of our outer space and clearly demonstrates that Russia’s claims of opposing the weaponization of space are disingenuous and hypocritical,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement, according to Politico. “The United States will work with our allies and partners to respond to Russia’s irresponsible act.”
However, Russia countered the U.S.’s comments.
“The U.S. knows for certain that the resulting fragments, in terms of test time and orbital parameters, did not and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities,” Russia’s defense ministry said, NBC News reported.
But NASA said that Russia’s anti-satellite testing endangered not just the ISS, but also China’s Tiangong space station, which has three crew members.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated, “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. All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment,” Nelson added, according to Space.com.
NASA and the State Department have spoken out, but one person has been strangely silent: President Joe Biden.
Not only has Russia endangered crews in space, but this comes after a build up of tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
Russia has been making moves in Europe, once again.
The New York Times reported on a Russian military build up near Ukraine’s eastern border. While the U.S. has noticed, so far they have done nothing except hint at warning Moscow to knock it off.
“We don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intentions, but we do know its playbook,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a news conference, the Times reported. “Any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of great concern to the United States.”
“Our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked,” Blinken continued.
Meanwhile, Russia is still targeting the U.S. with cyber attacks, completely ignoring the U.S. sanctions that were imposed because of these attacks.
The Times reported that security officers have said these new attacks are “very large” and “ongoing.”
So Russia is making bold strokes, both on and off the globe. Moscow is endangering international astronauts in space, is basically threatening to go rouge again in Europe and is attacking American cybersecurity. And the silence from Joe Biden is deafening.
He is happy to let his State Department and NASA make comments, but the head of state himself won’t deign to even comment.
This comes as no surprise since Biden’s whole attitude towards Russia since he became president has been one of meekness. He has insisted over and over he wants cooperation.
In his first major speech to a joint session of Congress back in April, Biden said he wants to keep Russia pacified.
When addressing the cyber attacks that eventually led to sanctions, Biden said, “I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. Now is the time to de-escalate,” the Times reported.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin is known for his tough and brash boldness in policy. Even if he is technically being diplomatic, Biden’s meekness is not likely to deter Putin. It will take some bigger and bolder talk to pressure him. As one Washington Post opinion piece noted: “Biden wants Russia’s cooperation. But Putin thrives on chaos.“
Biden has got to learn to take a stronger stand. He needs to speak out against Russia and show Putin that he is ready to push back against Russian aggression. Russia is not just playing around, and Biden needs to show he understands this and is not weak.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.