Although that incident passed, it ushered in a new stage in the growing arms race in space. Technologies that were once in the realm of science fiction, such as satellites armed with bombs and spacecraft that can shoot lasers, are now a firm reality.
Earlier this month, Russia launched a missile from Earth that blew up one of its own satellites in a show of force that spurred a slew of international criticism. U.S. officials called the strike, which created a cloud of debris and forced the crew of the International Space Station to take evasive action and take shelter in their return ships, "dangerous and irresponsible." NASA Chief Bill Nelson said that he was "outraged" by Russia's "irresponsible and destabilizing action."
The Russian military denied the test was dangerous and said they were merely carrying out planned activities to strengthen their defense capabilities.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg characterized the move as "reckless." In a meeting with EU defense ministers, he stated: "It demonstrates that Russia is now developing new weapons systems that can shoot down satellites."