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NASA postpones ISS spacewalk due to debris from Russian anti-sat test

NASA today postponed a planned ISS spacewalk to fix an antenna because of a threat from debris from the Russian anti-sat test.

On Tuesday, about five hours before the astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were due to venture outside the space station, Nasa said on Twitter that the spacewalk to fix a failed antenna had been cancelled. “NASA received a debris notification for the space station. Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the 30 November spacewalk until more information is available,” it tweeted.

This problem is only going to get worse. The Russians did something with that anti-satellite test that was either so stupid as to defy logic, or intentional in the worst sort of way. Russia’s actions actually suggest the Putin administration wanted to sabotage ISS.

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  • geoffc

    ASAT’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    NSF did a podcast with Jonathon of Jonathons Space Report on this topic that was quite good.

  • Not knowing much (i.e. anything) about the internals of the Russian government, I’d go with “so stupid as to defy logic”. There is a lot of “don’t question superiors” attitude, which is older than the Soviets, in Russia. Some general says, “we must test our missile” and there is no “but that’s a really bad idea, because…” pushback.
    That’s even leaving aside the universal bureaucratic silo “left hand doesn’t know what right hand is doing” issue.

  • Edward

    Since there are no reports of anyone being fired or otherwise punished for this cluster Brandon, I favor the “Putin administration wanted to sabotage ISS” option. Russia, meaning Putin, has been eager to abandon ISS for several years and may have done something intentional to force the issue.

    I understand the quote: “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity,” but after the Chinese were so soundly criticized for their own test in 2009, it isn’t reasonable to think that this month’s test by the Russians was not a well planned action. Otherwise, someone would have been fired for such supreme stupidity.

  • wayne

    The Hunt for Red October (1990)
    “Russians Don’t Take a Dump Son, Without A Plan”

  • Alex Andrite

    Take the high ground.
    Kill Command, Communications, (Machine Gunners), and over run.

    Well, perhaps in another battle. For now though ….

    Many “satellites” will fall, as burned crisp husks of nothing soon enough. Believe it.

    “ERROR 500, no connection possible at this time… ”

    Got HAM ?

  • Alex Andrite

    Take the high ground.
    Kill Command, Communications, (Machine Gunners), and over run.

    Well, perhaps in another battle. For now though ….
    Many “satellites” will fall, as burned crisp husks of nothing soon enough. Believe it.

    “ERROR 500, no connection possible at this time… ”

    Got HAM ?

  • Jeff Wright

    Putin wants to kill space period. He is all but willing to sell Baikonur to the UAE-and no…that isn’t good for Islam to get R-7 pads.

  • pzatchok

    I would say it was just a stupid move.

  • Has anyone asked the Russians why they did this?

  • Max

    Yes they asked the Russians.
    Here’s the response… It was no big deal, nobody’s in danger, now let’s sit down and talk about it… Or we’ll do more testing…

    “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that instead of launching “unfounded accusations,” Russia “would prefer that the United States… actually sit down at the negotiating table and discuss its grievances
    He went on to add that “it would be very interesting for us to listen not to excuses, but to a concrete reasoned position. We are ready for this.”

    Lavrov also rejected Washington’s assertions that Moscow creates risks for the peaceful use of the solar system, dismissing them as hypocritical. “There are no facts” to support this, he insisted.

    Russia’s Defense minister Sergey Shoigu confirmed on Tuesday that Russia had indeed tested its anti-satellite rocket system, confirming it “struck the old orbital with great accuracy.” He insisted that the fallout of fragments from the blast poses no threat to other spacecraft or astronauts aboard the International Space Station

    For Alex,

  • “However, the only tool diplomacy has is language.”


    “The Mark of Gideon”

    ST:TOG 17 January 1969

    So, the Russians are straight blowing us off. “We don’t care what you think, because you aren’t going to/can’t do anything about it” And, they are not wrong. Nor are the Chinese.

    Turns out this episode; Spock loses his cool:

    SPOCK: Since the planet is shielded from our sensors, we cannot establish that without on the spot investigation.
    ADMIRAL [on viewscreen]: Do you have evidence the captain’s life is threatened? Permission denied.
    SPOCK: Admiral, I wish to state for the record that your decision is completely arbitrary.
    ADMIRAL [on viewscreen]: So noted.

    Also, some fortune-telling:

    HODIN: We have told you, it is her wish and mine that there be no interference with the natural progress of the virus.

    Hodin, remember, works for Government.

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