Russia issues threat to GPS satellites

By Tracy Cozzens

The Kremlin warned it could blow up 32 GPS satellites with its new anti-satellite technology, ASAT, which it tested Nov. 15 on a retired Soviet Tselina-D satellite, according to numerous news reports.

Russia then claimed on state television that its new ASAT missiles could obliterate NATO satellites and “blind all their missiles, planes and ships, not to mention the ground forces,” said Russian Channel One TV host Dmitry Kiselyov, rendering the West’s GPS-guided missiles useless. “It means that if NATO crosses our red line, it risks losing all 32 of its GPS satellites at once.”

The International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control team was notified of indications of a satellite breakup, causing 1,500 pieces of debris to threaten the station. “Due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts,” Nelson said. “Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board. All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.

“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, said. “Russia’s tests of direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counterspace weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations.”

Photo: Stanislav Ostranitsa/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: Stanislav Ostranitsa/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images