NASA: Space station remains at risk from weapons test debris

Science

FILE – In this Saturday, April 24, 2021, file photo made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station for docking. NASA says the International Space Station remains at increased risk from orbiting debris following this week’s Russian weapons test. On Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, Russia used a missile to destroy a satellite in an orbit just above the space station. (NASA via AP, File)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station remains at increased risk from orbiting debris following this week’s Russian weapons test, NASA said Thursday.

On Monday, Russia launched a missile to destroy a satellite orbiting just above the space station.

NASA said late Wednesday that the highest threat to the station and its seven residents was in the first 24 hours. Hatches between many of the station compartments were closed as a precaution, but they were reopened Wednesday.

The U.S. Space Command is tracking more than 1,500 satellite fragments, but hundreds of thousands of pieces are too small to see. NASA and the State Department have condemned the missile strike, saying it also puts satellites and China’s space station at risk.

NASA said it’s reviewing an upcoming spacewalk and other station operations, to assess the risks before proceeding. The spacewalk to replace a bad antenna is targeted for Nov. 30. The space agency also plans continued inspections for potential damage.

The space station currently is home to four Americans, two Russians and one German.

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