The U.S. Space Command discovered that Russia was launching undeclared “anti-satellite weapons” into space, posing a threat to the country and its allies.
A Russian military satellite launched a mysterious projectile into orbit at high speed, according to observers of July 15 space activity, according to Spaceflight Now of July 23.
“Russia released this object in close proximity to another Russian satellite, which is similar to the orbital activity carried out by Russia in 2017, and inconsistent with the system’s declared mission as an inspection satellite.
These are “consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine of using weapons that endanger the space assets of the United States and its allies,” said Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, commander of the U.S. Space Command and chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force, according to the agency.
“The Russian satellite system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons test is the same satellite system that we were concerned about earlier this year when Russia maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite,” Raymond added.
Russia stated that its space activities are purely peaceful, but in his remarks, Raymond said the activities of the spacecraft involved in the launch were not consistent with the official version that it was an inspection satellite.
As part of its growing space activities, Russia launched a Russian military satellite, Kosmos 2542, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Nov. 26, 2019, and 11 days later “gave birth” to a second Kosmos 254 satellite, according to Time on July 23.
Dr. Christopher Ford, the United States undersecretary of state currently serving as undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, spoke out about Russian space activities, considering them hypocritical and worrying.
“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,” Ford said.
“The United States, in coordination with our allies, is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the nation, our allies, and vital U.S. interests from hostile acts in space,” Raymond concluded.
An anti-satellite weapon is used to disable or destroy satellites in orbit. Countries such as the United States, Russia, India, and the People’s Republic of China (Chinese Communist Party) are holders of such weapons.