21 thoughts on “The Russian ASAT Test”

  1. It would be ironic if it injured or killed a cosmonaut.

    Not likely w/o doing the same to one or more astronauts. And that’s where I have a problem.

  2. I’d say the Space Treaty needs an update to include a ban on this kind of testing. If you want to throw a net over one of your birds, well ok. Blasting it to bits, no no no. Fits along the lines of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty…

    1. Given that it’s close to a proposed shell of Starlink satellites (allegedly 485 km high versus 550 km high), this might be part of a plan to deny that part of space to SpaceX. Creating a bunch of space junk will increase the cost of deploying a constellation of satellites.

  3. We didn’t have such problems in the 1960’s, and if we did, some officials would’ve written reports that said something like “High-altitude, high-yield nuclear bursts could potentially raise enough of the Earth’s atmosphere, albeit briefly, to add aerodynamic drag to the debris, ideally deorbiting it in one pass. Although this would also likely de-orbit still-functioning satellites, those are easily replaced.”

    1. Not too far in future headline in Arse Technica?

      Next Gen Starlink cloud to feature satellites with depleted Uranium exoskeleton.

      Queue Star Wars Imperial March music….

  4. What if it hit a Chinese space station, and killed one, or more crew members? What would China say, or do? If it hits a Starlink, could Elon Musk sue?

    1. Didn’t commercial airliner shoot down happen at least twice? Besides over Ukraine I seem to remember a KAL flight to Seoul that got too close to sub pens on the Kamchatka Peninsula and was shot down in the early 80s.

  5. I’ve seen lots of comments on why the USA should or shouldn’t partner with the USSR Russia and haven’t found any of them for either side very compelling. This incident changes everything.

    How do people defend continuing to partner with Russia now?

    1. It would be a major mess to try to kick them off ISS at this point. But I certainly breathe a sigh of relief that they’re not part of Artemis.

      1. Agreed. I’ve been saying for some time that Russia is likely to be out of the manned spacefaring game by the time ISS is decommissioned. I’ve also been saying that no one will miss them in space when they’re gone. This latest bit of vandalism just guarantees that I’ve been right.

        1. Mitigating against your view is the interesting tidbit that Dubai has agreed to bankroll the modernization and refurbishment of the Gagarin’s Start launch complex at Baikonur, which was mothballed after the retirement of the Soyuz-FG in 2019. It will be upgraded to handle the Soyuz-2 family of launchers and will then be operated by Dubai as a commercial launch site. Soyuz 2.1A is used to launch the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. R-7 derived launchers are competitive with Falcon 9 and only a little undercut by the somewhat less reliable Indian PSLV. Anyways, be funny if the UAE wound up with a crewed space program that they buy from the Russians.

    2. How do people defend continuing to partner with Russia now?

      It’s the old Mafia protection racket writ for New Space. You want to make sure you keep some Russians on in any new space venture to prevent further misbehavior. Thus Russia gets to ride and share in the latest technology for essentially little to no cost on their own. Their only cost is maintenance and enhancements where necessary of an effective ASAT system that can envelope LEO with a ‘Doomsday Shroud’ of debris, should the nations of the world decide to exclude Russian participation in any of their own Space programs.

      It costs only a fraction of what they had been spending on Space, all the while their people were grumbling for more episodes of Yellowstone….

      OK, maybe not Yellowstone….

    1. Yes, but slowly, it’s been dead for years and would have stayed up for a few more yet. Scott Manley has a good video with details.

      (A good bit of trivia in it is that India conducted a relatively responsible test a while back, shooting down a target in a lowish orbit on a reentry trajectory, so almost all the debris was gone in weeks.)

      1. I saw a list that said that the US had conducted ASAT test (or tests). When were those and what happened? Was that the air launched interceptor years back?

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