US Space Command confirmed that a rare and potentially dangerous “debris-generating event” took place but did not provide details or mention Russia. The two officials said the State Department is preparing to put out a statement later today.
These types of events are typically caused by anti-satellite weapons tests involving a ground-based missile striking a satellite and creating a large debris field. One of the officials said a ground-based missile was launched at a target in orbit.
“We are actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites if impacted,” a Space Command spokesperson said. “We are also in the process of working with the interagency, including the State Department and NASA, concerning these reports and will provide an update in the near future.”
On Monday, the crew on board the International Space Station had to quickly don their spacesuits and jump into their spacecrafts in case the station was hit by some passing debris, according to Russia’s space agency, ROSCOSMOS. It remains unclear if that particular debris was generated by the Russian anti-satellite weapons test.
NASA and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story is breaking and will be updated.