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Home / World / Space force on alert: After Russia’s mysterious testing of deadly anti-satellite weapons in orbit

Space force on alert: After Russia’s mysterious testing of deadly anti-satellite weapons in orbit

Space Wars: may soon leave the realm of science fiction and become a reality.

Last week, the head of the newest U.S. military branch, the Space Force, publicly warned for the first time that Moscow had conducted at least two on anti-aircraft weapons tests. satellite in recent months, in a potential bid to develop in-orbit efficiency could dangerously undermine the U.S. heavy reliance on space-based systems.

“On July 15, Russia injected a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543,” the U.S. Space Force said in a statement. “Russia released this object in the vicinity of another Russian satellite, (which was) inconsistent with the system̵

7;s stated mission as a satellite inspector.”

While Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied this allegation, it is not the first time the Pentagon has said such an incident has occurred.

Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, commander of the U.S. Space Command and head of U.S. space operations, also stressed that the Russian satellite system used to carry out this test of weapons in orbit is the same on they “raised concerns about earlier this year when Russia maneuvered near a US government satellite.”


“This is further evidence of Russia’s ongoing efforts to develop and test space-based systems, and consistent with published Kremlin military doctrine to employ U.S.-keeping weapons and allied space assets at risk, Raymond continued.

The proclamation that these satellites are part of a space-based anti-satellite weapons system is even more significant because Cosmos 2542 had gone into a position to cast a U.S. satellite shadow of US KH-11, publicly identified as USA 245, in January, Analysis of the Drive War Zone was observed.

FILE: Gen.  John

FILE: Gen John “Jay” Raymond, the commander of the Air Force Space Command and the Joint Force Space Component Command.
(Clayton Wear / Air Force)

A month earlier, the US 245 satellite was forced to orbit its own orbit to avoid a collision with the notorious 2543, which the U.S. Space Force believes was also covering U.S. assets. Then in April of this year, the Space Force also raised red flags that the Kremlin had conducted testing of a “direct-ascending anti-satellite missile”, also known as DS-ASAT, from the base. Its Plesetsk in northern Russia.

“Russia’s DA-ASAT test provides another example that threats to the United States and allied space systems are real, serious and growing,” Raymond said in a statement following that incident. “The United States is ready and committed to deter aggression and defend the nation, our allies and the interests of the United States from hostile acts in space.”

While no targets were destroyed in either the April or July experiments, the trend – combined with the concept of two Russian satellites behind an American spy satellite – is enough to stir up some anxieties.

“If we stick to the US version, the Russians now have a means of using small satellites to intercept a target in orbit and destroy it,” Miguel News, an Asia-based weapons and security expert, told Fox News. “This is a serious capability because the biggest advantage of the US military over its rivals is immense command and control combined with an intelligence and surveillance network that orbits our planet. Without it, the US military suffers and fights to fulfill its mission. “

In addition, the U.S. State Department underlined that issue in both 2018 and again in 2020, saying that “Russian satellite behavior was not consistent with their stated mission and that these satellites had space-based weapon characteristics, “and characterized the behavior as” hypocritical and respectful. “

Eugene Gholz, an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, also emphasized that – to be precise – it is not a small issue.

“The ability to weaken U.S. military satellite constellations impedes the ability of the U.S. military to project power away from its homeland – that is, the space is an essential part of the U.S. infrastructure for operations against countries such as Russia, China and Iran.The United States States use intelligence-based intelligence gathering. the space to understand the threats to their homeland the United States (for defense), but the United States also uses many space-based capabilities to allow the US military to go and attack other countries, “he explained. “Other relatively strong countries such as Russia are naturally interested in undermining the ability of the U.S. military to attack them, which naturally attracts those countries to find ways to disrupt U.S. military space operations. . “

The logo for the Space Force recreated.

The logo for the Space Force recreated.

But what is the newly deployed and seemingly disturbing Cosmos 2543, also called Kosmos 2543?

Moscow considers it a “spacecraft inspector,” which does nothing but observe and examine damage to other equipment in orbit. However due to its small stature and mobility, some defense experts suspect that it could also double as spycraft or be used to destroy other critical spacecraft in a number of ways – including launching projectiles, which the The U.S. Space Force is accusing its Russian counterparts of dry. going on in recent months.

“The details remain vague on this satellite inspector,” but the main concern is that he is able to launch a small load into another vehicle that is in orbit, “Miranda said.” It comes on its own, it seems to play an offensive role, and that is what the US military is concerned about. “

Dean Cheng, a senior research partner and space expert at the Heritage Foundation, agreed that a big part of the problem quite simply is that we don’t fully know what Cosmos 2543 is and what it can do.

“It appears to be a mini-satellite, launched from Cosmos 2542. Now, Cosmos 2543 itself has launched a smaller object,” he noted. “I’m not aware of any U.S. testing like this. The U.S. and other states have talked about ‘maintenance satellites,’ generally more in terms of fuel-efficient systems and possibly repair satellites in orbit. “

According to the U.S. Space Force statement, Russia’s development and testing of orbital weapons underscores the importance of setting up the U.S. Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces – signed last year as an executive order by President Trump – and the U.S. Space Command as the nation’s unified fight command for space.

“It is the shared interest and responsibility of all nations of outer space to create the conditions for a safe, stable and operationally sustainable space environment,” the release continued.


But what that means in practice remains to be seen, as the two powers have different goals when it comes to developing a protocol.

“Both sides are preparing for the future where the killing of satellites will be a key capability in any war or conflict. The goal is simple: if your opponent is blinded, he can’t attack you. having weapons that can kill satellites that can attack precision attacks, find potential threats, and even wage a nuclear war would clearly be a game-changer, ”observed Harry Kazianis, a senior director at the Center for National Interest. “They also create the potential for a weapon that can create incentives to find satellites first in a war, because anyone who does so and does so quickly has a good chance of coming out as the winner.”

Washington this week is holding their first discussions on space militarization in Vienna. The Wall Street Journal said Trump administration officials hoped the meeting “would lead to the establishment of a set of voluntary norms to operate in space and possibly a new communication channel linking space officials on both sides.” , “while Russia on the contrary” was in favor of a formal anti-weapons treaty in space, reflecting Moscow’s long-standing push to abandon the potential US effort to develop space-based anti-missile defenses, “it is unclear whether an agreement will be reached.

“There is a continuing clear tension between the United States and Russia, in space but also on the ground. The Russian annexation of Crimea, its support for ‘few green men’ in eastern Ukraine, its pressure on Georgia and the Baltic states, all indicate that its relations with the West will remain tense for the foreseeable future, ”Cheng said. “Space reflects ground tensions, and there are likely to be more tests of new Russian weapons, as they will want to neutralize the American space advantage in any conflict.”

President Vladimir Putin, left, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspect the warships during the Army Day parade in Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

President Vladimir Putin, left, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspect the warships during the Army Day parade in Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

In addition to planting space tensions with Russia, the U.S. Space Force must also subdue China’s influence in the sphere as it also actively treats a range on anti-satellite systems. In 2007, Beijing sent a message to its opponents by firing a kinetic missile against the satellite to explode a weather satellite, demonstrating its ability and generating the worst debris spread in the space age so far.


Experts warn that the aerospace war arena – while still in its infancy – could quickly emerge as the prominent battlefield for substantial conflict in the not-so-distant future. Its domain is particularly crucial for the United States, which relies entirely on space systems, from navigation and weapons guidance to intelligence gathering, communications, data sharing and storage, and advanced attack warnings.

“The focus should be on ensuring that the United States always has ready access to space, and that it can carry out the necessary space-related missions to help ensure victory in any conflict with any other state. , whether it is China and Russia as major powers, North Korea or Iran as medium-sized powers, or terrorist entities, “Cheng added. “Space contributes to operations against any adversary, and is vital to the American way of war.”

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