Russians say ISS threatened by debris from India’s anti-satellite test


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According to one Russian official, data from the U.S. Air Force suggests that ISS now faces an increased risk from the debris produced from India’s anti-satellite test in March.

The probability that debris from an Indian satellite shot down earlier may puncture the International Space Station (ISS) has risen by 5%, Executive Director of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos for Manned Space Programs Sergei Krikalyov said on Wednesday.

“The Americans have carried out calculations on the probability of the station getting punctured because of more debris surfacing and being dispersed. There are numerical estimates raising the probability of a puncture by about 5%,” Krikalyov said at a session of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Council.

It is unclear what this means, since Krikalyov did not say what the estimated overall risk is now thought to be. Increasing a 1% risk by 5% is far less significant that increasing a 10% risk by 5%. In fact, without knowing what the overall risk is, this story is practically meaningless, and instead suggests there are political reasons for making this statement.

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One comment

  • Dick Eagleson

    I suppose the reason for this latest bit of gratuitous Russian commentary is that Russia resents and perhaps even fears the growing entente between the U.S. and India. India and the old USSR were very tight back in the day, but since the USSR’s fall, India has had a lot of disappointments from Russia as an arms supplier to the Indian military – Mig 29’s that fell apart, an aircraft carrier that was basically junk and had to be extensively and expensively rehabbed, submarines that didn’t meet specs and, in one case, even killed Indian naval personnel. Indian purchases of Russian weaponry have fallen to relatively trivial levels from their former heights. So, having, in effect, “lost” the Indians, the Russians are now trying, it seems, to toss what sabots they can into the growing U.S.-Indian strategic relationship.

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