International Space Station Hit By Debris After Mysterious Satellite Destruction

By Christopher Isaac | Published

The International Space Station faced a scary situation as it encountered the threat of debris from another spacecraft colliding with it. This was the result of a decommissioned Russian satellite that had broken up into at least 100 pieces in space. Crew aboard the station took shelter as they could, bracing for the possibility of impact from the perilous situation.

No Immediate Danger

In a statement about the situation and the potential danger to the International Space Station, the U.S. Space Command posted on X, saying, “USSPACECOM has observed no immediate threats and is continuing to conduct routine conjunction assessments to support the safety and sustainability of the space domain. As such, USSPACECOM has notified commercial, governmental, Allied and partner organizations via, to include Russia as the satellite owner.”

Fortunately, it does appear that any potential crisis has been averted and that the International Space Station is out of danger at this time. U.S. Space Command confirmed this, saying, “Mission Control continued to monitor the path of the debris, and after about an hour, the crew was cleared to exit their spacecraft and the station resumed normal operations.”

The Russian Satellite

The Russian satellite was called RESURS-P1 and broke apart on June 26, sending over 100 pieces of debris scattering into the Earth’s low orbit. Before breaking apart, the satellite weighed 13,200 pounds and was traveling at an altitude of 220 miles above Earth. So suffice to say, such an object colliding with the International Space Station could have potentially caused catastrophic damage.

Not The First Incident

It was undoubtedly a scary situation aboard the International Space Station during that time, and unfortunately, it is not one that they are unaccustomed to either. This is not the first incident with a Russian satellite posing a risk to others. Just back in 2021, Russia deliberately destroyed one of its own Soviet-era satellites to test an anti-satellite missile system. This incident also caused the crew of the space station to have to take shelter, as that situation resulted in thousands of pieces of debris flying through space in the aftermath.

Cause Remains Unknown

Given that past history, some are speculating whether the RESURS-P1 breaking apart may have also been another missile test from Russia. NASA already reprimanded Russia for doing this back in 2021, emphasizing how reckless such an action was to the safety of crews currently in space. If it is found that the International Space Station was once again endangered due to the direct actions of Russia, it is unclear what form of punitive repercussions they might face.

However, experts have also acknowledged that the RESURS-P1 could have simply broken up due to a collision in space or one of the batteries on the satellite exploding. The incident will assuredly be investigated further to determine what was the cause. At the moment, everyone appears to be focused on their relief that nothing jeopardized the safety of those aboard the International Space Station.

Russia Opposed The Anti-Satellite Resolution

the challenge

After the 2021 incident, the United Nations created a resolution prohibiting testing anti-satellite missile systems. Russia was one of the nations that voted against that change, so clearly that is not something they agree with even after hearing about the danger it posed then.

It is unclear if they would actually willingly violate such an agreement, though. The International Space Station is of great scientific value, so even if nobody on board winds up being harmed in such an incident, NASA would no doubt be displeased even by the station being damaged. It remains to be seen what the cause of this latest Russian satellite’s destruction actually was.