The anti-satellite missile the Soviet Union designed for one of its early space stations

Link here. Apparently a prototype was actually flown in 1975 on the second successful Soviet space station, Salyut 3, a military mission. A more sophisticated version was never flown when the Soviet’s cancelled their military space station program. However, its design was most fascinating:

[L]ittle is known about the specifications and operation of the system, but, according to the Head of Science and Research Center at NPO Mashinostroenia Leonard Smirichevsky, who introduced the weapon, the vehicle’s grenade-like solid propellant charges doubled as engines! RussianSpaceWeb.com’s 3D recreation of the displayed variant established that it held 96 casings with solid propellant arranged in a globular fashion like the petals of a dandelion around a central combustion chamber. Upon their ignition, the chambers/grenades might have fed hot propulsive gas into a single or multiple combustion chambers at the center of the contraption, producing either the main thrust and/or steering the vehicle. When the missile reached the proximity of the target, according to its guiding radar, the entire vehicle would explode and the small solid chambers would eject under their own propulsive force in every direction acting as shrapnel.

The missile had a flight range of about 70 miles, and was designed to destroy any hostile satellite or spacecraft that approached the military station.

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

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.