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Russia Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon, US Military Says

By | July 24, 2020
The Pentagon, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense. Photo: DOD.

The Pentagon, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense. Photo: DOD.

U.S. Space Command reports it has evidence that Russia recently conducted an anti-satellite weapons test.

In a Thursday announcement, Space Command said Russia released a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543 in proximity to another Russian satellite. This is similar to on-orbit activity conducted by Russia in 2017, and it is inconsistent with the system’s purpose as an inspector satellite. 

In February of this year, Space Command raised concerns about this same satellite system when a Russian satellite maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite. Then in April, military officials said that Russia tested a Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite (DA-ASAT) missile capable of destroying satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). 

“This is further evidence of Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems, and consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk,” said Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command and U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations. 

The Department of State, called the behavior “hypocritical and concerning.” 

“This event highlights Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control, with which Moscow aims to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting its own counterspace program — both ground-based anti-satellite capabilities and what would appear to be actual in-orbit anti-satellite weaponry,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State  Dr. Christopher Ford.