Chairs Johnson and Beyer Statement on Space Debris Event from Russian ASAT Test

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2021

(Washington, DC) — On Monday, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that the Russian Ministry of Defense had performed an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test, which created a dangerous field of space debris, threatening the International Space Station (ISS), the safety of the ISS crew, and other satellites and spacecraft operating in low earth orbit.

The crew of the ISS were forced to carry out emergency safety procedures and take shelter in their crew capsules to reduce the risk from a hypervelocity collision. The U.S. Space Force has identified that the test added 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris from the test, along with hundreds of thousands of debris fragments too small to detect.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics made the following statement.

“We share the outrage of leaders at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other agencies over the appalling and reckless action taken by the Russian military with its anti-satellite test. Ensuring the safety of the space environment must be a shared commitment, if any and all nations are to continue to pursue exploration, discovery, commerce, and other important missions in outer space. That Russia would violate its responsibility to ensure a sustainable space environment and threaten the safety of the International Space Station crew, including its own cosmonauts, is unthinkable.”

“We commend NASA and the Department of Defense for their quick actions to keep the ISS crew safe and for their continued efforts to evaluate the scope and duration of the threat posed by this irresponsible action.”

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