The Russians seem to have blown up one of their satellites, and the ISS is dodging the debris.

There’s going to be more news on this shortly, but a a couple of Near-Earth Orbit tracking services are reporting on the Russian satellite Cosmos 1408, which appears to not be there any more. Instead, there’s a cloud of smaller objects, some of which are on or near the orbital path of the International Space Station.


With new data from Kiwi Space Radar gathered at 1620 UTC, we confirm detection of multiple objects near expected location of Cosmos 1408. We will share supporting data as we gather it today.


Reports coming through of ASAT (Anti-satellite) test by Russia on one of its own satellites Cosmos 1408 (Kosmos-1408) (1982-092A/13552). Some debris caused. More soon.

14 pieces of debris tracked so far. According to the Seradata SpaceTrak launch and satellite database, the Cosmos 1408 satellite is a retired Tselina-D class electronic intelligence/signals intelligence satellite launched in September 1982 and which has been dead for decades.

Seradata’s also got more on the ISS debris cloud issues in a longer article:

A Russian Anti-satellite (ASAT) missile was successfully launched at 0630 GMT from the Plesetsk launch site in Northern Russia on 15 October and it intercepted a defunct Soviet era satellite a few minutes later. The intercepted satellite, Cosmos 1408, was a Tselina-D class signals intelligence satellite originally launched in 1982 and been defunct for several decades. It apparently blew up when it was intercepted causing a “debris cloud” and it was this that is suspected as causing the 0900 GMT “safe haven” protocol alarm procedure on the ISS in which the seven astronauts and cosmonauts aboard were instructed to retreat to their spacecraft (Crew Dragon Endurance and Soyuz MS-19) ready for a possible evacuation should the ISS be struck.

There has yet to be a formal confirmation that the debris cloud had been created by the ASAT test, however the orbits were relatively close to have created a hazard. For while the ISS orbit at 51.6 degrees inclination is significantly different from that of Cosmos 1408 – 51.6 degrees versus 82 degrees respectively – the Cosmos 1408 487 x 462 km orbit is close enough to the ISS orbit of 424 x 418 km for the ISS to be threatened every 93 minutes by any crossing debris which had blasted downwards from any interception explosion.