Russian Anti-Satellite Weapon Causes Emergency On Space Station


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Yesterday the Russian military tested a new Anti-Satellite missile on an old, dead Soviet satellite. The test was a success and now there are thousands of pieces of debris crossing the orbit of the Space Station. Space is big, and the chances of an impacts are low, but this particular satellite was relatively close to the altitude of the ISS, rather than low down like recent US and Indian tests meaning the debris will remain in orbit longer and have a long term cost for operations in Low Earth Orbit.

Comments:
  1. gt4666master

    The ASAT demo/test in Red Storm Rising, was launched from a vertically oriented F-15(D?) The ASAT weapon was one of a limited lot. I think less than 5 existed in (fictional) inventory. The ASAT targeted a ROSCOSMOS 1000 series satellite, and the inevitable debris also damaged a RORSAT I believe.

    Take everything I said with a grain of salt.

    Also the pilot (female) became an Ace because of the successful strike w/ ASAT

  2. LTVoyager

    That ring light reflection in Scott’s eyes is a little spooky. 😂

  3. TheFriskyComiskey !

    Don’t make the Astroscott mad…
    You wouldn’t want to see him mad.

  4. PalimpsestProd

    Are you aware of any studies of the effects of satellite “ash” on Earth’s atmosphere? We seem to be at the start of an S curve of metallic dust / vapour as the backlog of satellites start to burn up and it’s going to increase due to cheaper launch cost and multiple players in the LEO comms business. Finding out that the effects will be bad could be a great impetus to start an on orbit satellite reclaim and recycle business, also due to cheaper launch costs.

  5. John Duffy

    Scott- You should now produce a video about the “Laser Broom” concept to deorbit space junk.

  6. IanCaine4728

    This “fly safe” feels like when a state trooper who just ticketed you says “drive safe.”

  7. Hermann Philipp

    I find it a bit funny, because even a bigger explosion in a village 20 km away from here would never bother me, at least concerning flying debris. Gravity and Atmosphere are nice to have.

  8. Jan

    i like the slightly different inflection the “fly safe” this episode :D

  9. mclaine33

    Russia didn’t give a flying F about safety when they shot this down. Completely irresponsible.

  10. darthkarl99

    Ironically the nuclear version might well have been safer overall in this situation, i don’t imagine wt would have left much debris at all on a contact detonation. Of course the old one probably couldn’t get a direct hit but still.

  11. Ulmer Cubing and More

    I feel like Rogozin agreed to this just because he’s a politician, not an actual space engineer/scientist-

  12. niefali

    Imagine what taking out an enemy sat could do in a conflict. GPS, comms…

  13. RWBHere

    This is the closest I’ve ever heard Scott be to losing his rag.

  14. Joy L

    Captain Picard face-palming comes to mind.

  15. Alias Bam

    *picks up rock
    -“nooo don’t do it, don’t you think about it”
    *looks at glass window
    “Please what are you thinking I’m right here?!?!?”

  16. Cameron Davis

    We really need a teaty much like the Antarctic Treaty specific for Space.

  17. Peter A. Blacksberg

    Precisely said: we seemed destined to be destructive even in the face of vast opportunity. Thanks a million for your clarity of vision snd shared knowledge.

  18. yteicosf

    Scott’s Fly safe is now needed more than ever.

  19. Doc

    I was hoping you would cover how the escape capsule system works in the event the space station had to be evacuated.

  20. Mike Stiber

    Hey Scotty, how about an update on Perseverance and Ingenuity? We haven’t heard much about them lately.

  21. Roran Elderon

    kinda gave me goosebumps with the Fly safe there Scott

  22. Naked Tourist

    Oh man, I had hopes that mankind might venture to the stars and beyond someday. This is like dumping garbage in front of your door and wondering why you’re not able to leave. Sometimes it’s really impressive how foolish humanity is able to be.

  23. Knedlik MCPE

    That was the most desperate “Fly safe” I’ve ever heard

  24. colin webster

    Terrific graphics and a comprehensive explanation of the issue. Thanks

  25. Matt Giaquinto

    Listened to the audio transmissions and I’m realizing that this is the rookie Commander handling this right now! Talk about a baptism by fire!

  26. Lionel KJ7OH

    Scott: “What the heck! At some point I hope we stop doing these stupid things”

    You realize you’re talking about humans. Right? Stupid is ALL we do.

  27. sulljoh1

    Using an “anti-satellite weapon” is like boiling the ocean to take down one submarine

  28. gorak9000

    It’s going to be ok, we have SpaceForce now [roll eyes]

  29. Atom

    Remember those weird dreams you had after space odyssey, the expanse, basically any movie or show regarding astro conflict and war. Keep in the back of your head. Expect everything.

  30. Flechette

    Wow. That was the first time I have seen Scott actually get mad…not that I blame him.

  31. Mat Wyder

    Wondering why they decided to do this. The first space-faring nation, ~70 years of experience with orbital guidance systems, and simple logic dictates these weapons are not head-on colliders, they more like closely matching the orbit of the target, just like a normal docking maneuver, only at higher delta-v to avoid possible evasive moves. But in general, all underlying principles are well understood, the tech is already developed since decades, not to mention you can conduct all but one tests of your system without actually detonating the warhead. This is not a test, this is some sort of cringe power demonstration attempt on their behalf. OK, we get it, you are irresponsible daredevil a..holes, willing to sacrifice anything and everything, nobody wants to mess with you, we knew it already, comrade Vladimir, this was totally unnecessary…

  32. Will Berry

    Then Russia just straight up lies like they always do about how reckless it was

  33. Unarmored

    Total “not my problem” attitude from those two for decades (with other environmental issues as well). It’s a tough situation, I mean we could offer to pay to launch a “target” into orbit, but I have a strong feeling they might take advantage of that sort of generosity.

  34. Dark Lord Auron

    If there was ever a video in which I could have imagined Scott saying something was “a dick move,” it would have been this one.

  35. Ranstone

    “If the earth is the womb of human exploration, we’re committing a self inflicted partial birth abortion”.
    – A based fellow.

  36. Thauã Aguirre

    Wasn’t there a treaty against militarization of Space?

    You should do a video on space politics.
    Most people will find it boring, but it is an important aspect of space.

  37. TheAngryRedGummyBear

    “This 135 is unrelated to that 135”
    *Looks at R-77 “totally not an Aim-120 amraam” Amraamski *
    *Mashes (X) furiously to doubt harder*

  38. K Petro

    I heard about this event in the news and immediately went looking for Scott to explain it.

  39. Space Elf Downlink

    Anti-Satellite weapons are one thing that I think any smart person would push an uninvent button on if they could. They are an idiotic idea and testing them live is even more idiotic.

  40. Raideur Ng

    Man, the first week of Crew 3 is a bit scarier than they were anticipating….

  41. Zac Clark

    Would love to learn more about how that company can track and image the debris. So cool!

  42. psmirage

    Great rant. Now, imagine the rants going on behind closed doors.

  43. Guilherme Cahú

    Russian military went pew pew pew!
    Roscosmos was like: “blyat!”

  44. lextacy_2008

    When Scott says Fly Safe the way he said that, you know he is pissed.

  45. Tom Sid

    People who saw Gravity : Hey I’ve seen this one, this is a classic!

  46. Christian Woodland

    This kind of stuff has got to end from everyone. It’s going to just get messier and the potential of an opps moment of some unknown disaster will eventually happen. Thanks for the great video! :)

  47. Linus Poindexter

    I’m worried that there’s going to be a rain of fod falling through lower orbits for a long, long time.

  48. Samuel Gibson

    So many important advances depend on space being an environment that people can live and work in. This stuff is serious.

  49. Nathan Lee

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” –Albert Einstien

  50. ClockworkCrow

    “Hmm. Yes. We will test an anti satellite missile & almost cause irl Kessler Syndrome.” – Ivan

  51. L Dewey MD

    It’s not very reassuring when Scott Manley himself becomes visibly upset about an event such as this. I hope all the astronauts in orbit (American, Russian, Chinese, etc.) stay safe. So far, we have survived the nuclear arms race. I am hopeful that we will survive events such as these.

  52. katie_incredible

    Russian military to Roscosmos: “Would you prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system!”

  53. John Grey

    The phrase “Fly safe!” is taking on a whole new meaning.

  54. RockyMountainMotion

    Thank you!! Exactly what I hoped for after work, your take on the going show

  55. Randall Anderson

    There is NO “Fly Safe” with a debrie field as big as this one produced.

  56. AUS Ratliff

    The next (final?) season of the Expanse will be released in December. We’ve enjoyed the whole series, but have noted the implications of some of the space battles and what that resulting debris might have for future vehicular travel and spacecraft design.

  57. Dogmatic Pyrrhonist

    “I’m Scott Manley, try to fly safe between thousands of multi-kmps debris objects”

  58. Bob Roberts

    Could this be a real life Space Odyssey 2010 where US and Russians needed to stay in separate portions of the space craft?

  59. AeroGrafica

    Lol Scott, that “Fly Safe” was a silent scream… “Fly Safe FFS !! “

  60. Ulrik Elristan

    That was the most angry yet genuine “Fly safe” you’ve ever spoken!

  61. roidroid

    10:49 that _Bigelow Expandable Activity Module_ that they closed off with the other modules, would probably have been one of the safest places for impact, given it’s inflated & flexible nature. It’s basically like a Kevlar jacket, with padding too.

  62. enoughofyourkoicarp

    “Human, why does your experimental starship have so many weapons?”
    “Sattelites.”
    “Do you really need one hundred and forty excorcet missiles?”
    “We have a lot of sattelites.”
    “…”

  63. SuperWhygee

    “Fly safe” hits differently today.

  64. MrLapidary

    This could be Russia’s way of pushing harder to have the ISS decomissioned.

  65. Krymz

    I like to imagine the sci-fi story of them killing a soviet satellite that had an old soviet experimental AI that finally “woke up” and was ready to conquer the world. We dodge a bullet right there, thx russia! :P

  66. Carmine Gangemi

    This may turn out to be a very expensive error in judgement on the part of Russia. Let’s hope it doesn’t cost any human lives. “Beyond stupid” is an understatement.

  67. Mr Tommy Pickles

    This would be a great topic for Scott and The Angry Astronaut to collab on

  68. Thomas Gabrielsen

    I’ve followed you for almost ten years now, and this is the first time seeing you angry. Rightfully so!

  69. AaronShenghao

    Remember the movie Gravity?
    “Mission control I have a bad feeling about this mission.”…
    “Attention ISS, Endeavor, Russia launched a missile at one of their own satellite, we are checking…”

  70. thanksfernuthin

    Your simulation shows many items moving away from each other. Wasn’t this explosive? Wouldn’t that send lower pieces screaming towards the earth and destruction. At a really fast rate.

  71. Eric Y

    This confirms that there is no intelligent life on this big blue rock.

  72. Henry Cobb

    Scott, your wish is granted. The next ASAT launch (well launches, in mass), won’t be for a test.

  73. Andy Hale

    “I’m Scott Manley, fly safe”.

    Russia: “LOL”.

  74. Not Sure

    Scott Manley: *publishes video on how to deorbit ISS*
    Russian military: hold my vodka!

  75. Andrew Reynolds

    “I hope this is the last one”
    Something tells me that ain’t happening.

  76. Gawayne

    That last reaction was exactly how I felt when the news reached me.

  77. Lezlie Newlands

    Every day we stray closer to the scene out of WALL•E where the earth’s orbit is clogged with satellites.

  78. Steve S

    Great Zarquon, if I was in that situation I’d certainly sleep hugging a space suit.

  79. Darkwingduck

    Good job Russian space team, more space debris is exactly what we need….

  80. Argen

    We really need to start shooting debris out of the sky with lasers. The laser wouldn’t need to be excessively powerful, just enough to ablate a little bit off the front of a chunk of debris, do it on the prograde side of each object, the ablated material creates an impulse against the debris, pushing it into a lower orbit. Stick the laser on the ISS and every time a piece of debris comes into range, it shoots it, putting it into a lower orbit that will degrade from atmospheric drag a little quicker. Over time, this clears the orbit. Alternatively, we could have a dedicated platform that could maneuver into higher or lower orbits to focus on any new clouds of debris that are created.

    We can hope that countries start being responsible and stop testing anti-satellite missiles, but I don’t think it is wise to rely on that, and with more satellites than ever, accidental destruction becomes more likely too. Creating less debris in the first place is the first step, but not the last if we want to avoid Kessler syndrome.

  81. Kralasaurusx

    Scott, please do an episode about raising the orbit of the ISS!

    Example related sub-topics:
    * Could raising the orbit of the ISS reduce the risk of space debris collision?
    * Would it be feasible to raise the orbit of the ISS to avoid the debris field if propellant could be sent up to the station to perform the necessary burns?
    * How many Falcon 9 launches would it take to supply the propellant, vs Starship launches?
    * At a higher altitude, would the decreased atmospheric drag pay for itself in the long run because of less need to burn propellant to maintain orbit?
    * Would it be better to park the ISS below or above Starlink? At what point would the Van Allen radiation belt start to cause problems in practice?

    Just some ideas – could be a neat episode. (Unless there’s already an episode on this that I wasn’t able to find)

    Anyways, excellent work! Thanks for all the top-quality content.

  82. TransGalactic Aerospace

    Perhaps the real anti-satellite weapon is the debris, not the missile itself.

  83. Blinded

    If you want an antisatellite weapon, fine. JUST DONT FREAKING HAVE IT BLOW UP
    I feel like this should be written doen into a Geneva convention

  84. Dalsiran

    That “fly safe” wasn’t a suggestion, it was an order.

  85. Alexander Kenway

    Russian military be like: “Those darn Starlink sats!”

  86. Richard Classey

    We need a global Kessler Syndrome countdown clock like the Doomsday clock.
    Just for the awareness outside our small spacegeek circle.

  87. ThatKoukiZ31

    I always look forward to how each “fly safe” sign off is different every single time. This one was quite ominous!

  88. BallisticDamages

    Nothing like a small taste of Kessler syndrome in the morning 😖 Hopefully we stop blowing things up in orbit on purpose, and I’m looking forward to seeing more tech to clean up space junk.

  89. Jeff K

    “Fly safe.” Damn, that takes on a whole new meaning.

  90. TobyAsE120

    I can only imagine the “what the fuck?” moment in mission control for the space station on a normal monday morning (or whatever the local time was).

  91. Oliwier Sikorski

    The Scott’s advice on flying safe has never been more important

  92. Subsonic Mike

    I would be genuinely interested what the two cosmonauts had to say when they were told they needed to shelter in a lifeboat because their government had done something this stupid.

  93. jonas1015119

    Now that the US, China and Russia (und India) have shown to have this capability maybe they are willing to pass a UN resolution to outlaw it, I doubt France or the UK intend to shoot down one.

  94. Zuckerkome

    Going to need that ‘fly safe’ more than ever

  95. PrototypeJ3

    The “Fly Safe” sign off hits differently on this one.

  96. twistedyogert

    So there is now birdshot flying around the Earth at over 10 times the speed of regular birdshot?

  97. Elvijs Lasis

    That satellite orbit height graph shows Solar cycles so well (expanded atmosphere and more drag during max and shrinking with less drag during min).

  98. メカフィンチ

    Who would have guessed that an anti satellite weapon would threaten every satellite

  99. Ugg Ooga

    Just watched this on the news and was waiting for your detailed breakdown.

Comments are closed.