ESA astronaut: Militarisation of space a concern

The increased militarisation of space is a concern for future international co-operation in the domain, according to Tim Peake, European Space Agency astronaut and former British Army helicopter pilot, speaking recently before the UK Defence Committee.

Russia’s apparent testing of an anti-satellite missile capability, which saw a kinetic effector impact with the inactive Russian COSMOS1408 satellite on November 15, resulted in the fragmentation of the platform.

ISS
Astronauts embarked on the International Space Station were forced to shelter in escape capsules following Russia's recent anti-satellite test in case the facility was hit by debris. NASA

According to the UK’s Space Operations Centre (SOC), data suggested that the destruction of the satellite generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable data in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 450-500km, thereby increasing the risk of debris colliding with other platforms in LEO. The result of this could cause a chain reaction and severely damage or disable space-based networks.

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