Russia shoots down satellite in ‘debris-generating event’: US Space Command


Newly released NASA recordings capture the dramatic moment the crew of the International Space Station was ordered to seek shelter as debris from an exploded Russian satellite closed in on the orbiting craft. 

“Hey Mark, good morning,” Houston Mission Control woke up flight engineer Mark Vande Hei aboard the station Monday, according to recordings obtained by the Daily Mail. “Sorry for the early call.”

“We were recently informed of a satellite breakup and need to have you guys start reviewing the safe haven procedure,” ground control said. “We are planning on performing through block 8, which will include closing the radical hatches. The time of concern is 0600.” 

“Copy,” Vande Hei responds. “We are looking at executing that three-step 8, and including closing the lateral hatches at time of concern 0600.”

“Okay,” the ground answers. “That’s a good read. We have a step on the ground to configure before you guys close those radio hatches. We will be sure to let you know when we are ready for you to perform your step.” 

“Sounds good,” Vande Hei said. “Thanks for the heads up.”

The US Space Command said Monday that the station’s seven-member crew — including four Americans — was told to prepare as the debris was expected to come “uncomfortably” close to the craft. 

On Tuesday, US Space Command charged that the debris was from a Russian satellite that had been detonated in a missile test, sparking outrage from the US and NATO. 

The agency, in a statement provided to Fox News, said it is “aware of a debris-generating event in outer space. 

“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,” the statement continued. “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.” 

Seradata, which operates a launch and satellite database, reported that the downed satellite belonged to Russia and was targeted in an anti-satellite test. 

The orbiting space station currently has a crew of seven, four US astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, and one German crew member. 

The shelter order was for the crew to return to their docked capsules in the event the station was damaged and evacuation was necessary. 

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