Russian officials on Tuesday said no astronauts aboard the International Space Station were endangered during a space missile strike of an old satellite, rejecting U.S. accusations of wrecklessness.

The strike created more than 1,500 pieces of space junk that formed a massive debris field, which prompted the astronauts onboard the ISS to seek immediate shelter in their docked capsules for two hours.

The four Americans, one German and two Russians onboard emerged only to have to close and reopen hatches to the station’s individual labs on every orbit, or 1 1/2 hours, as they passed near or through the space debris, the Associated Press reported.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday confirmed carrying out a test and destroying a defunct satellite that has been in use since 1982, adding that the strike was carried out “with surgical precision” and posed no threat to the space station.

However, astronauts now face four times greater risk than normal from space junk, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told AP News. The defunct Russian satellite Cosmos 1408 was orbiting about 40 miles higher than the space station.

“I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts,” Nelson said in a statement.

U.S. officials on Monday accused Russia of a "dangerous and irresponsible" strike on a satellite that had created a cloud of debris that could damage the space station and force the ISS crew to take evasive action.

The test demonstrates that Russia, “despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, is willing to ... imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

The Russian military said it was carrying out planned activities to strengthen its defense capabilities, leading to an anti-satellite missile test that became only the fourth ever to hit a spacecraft from the ground. The military denied that the test was dangerous.

“This was a reckless act by Russia to actually shoot down and destroy a satellite as part of a test of an anti-satellite weapons system,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

He said it was of additional concern “because it demonstrates that Russia is now developing new weapons systems that can shoot down the satellites, can destroy important space capabilities for basic infrastructure on Earth, like communications, like navigation, or like early warning of missile launches.”