In Moscow, the Defense Ministry stated the July 15 occasion concerned a small area automobile that “inspected one of the national satellites from a close distance using special equipment. It added that the inspection provided valuable information about the object that was inspected, which was transmitted to the ground-based control facilities.
The U.S., however, said the Russian actions were inconsistent with the stated mission of an inspector satellite.
The Russian satellite system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons test is the same satellite system that we raised concerns about earlier this year, when Russia maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite, said Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Space Command and the head of U.S. Space Force.
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.
In a space strategy document published last month, the Pentagon asserted that China and Russia present the greatest strategic threat due to their development, testing, and deployment of counterspace capabilities and their associated military doctrine for employment in conflict extending to space.”
It added, “China and Russia each have weaponized space as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.
Private U.S. space analysts said U.S. concerns about the July 15 event appear justified in an era of rapidly improving space technologies that could pose threats to satellites that are integral to modern life in the U.S. and globally. Defense of these satellites was a key reason the Trump administration create U.S. Space Force last December.
In a separate statement, the head of the British governments space directorate, Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, echoed the American assertion about the July 15 event. He wrote on Twitter that the Russians had launched a projectile with the characteristics of a weapon.”
We name on Russia to keep away from any additional such testing, Smyth wrote. We additionally urge Russia to proceed to work constructively with the U.K. and different companions to encourage accountable conduct in area.
The State Department’s prime arms management official, Christopher Ford, stated the occasion uncovered Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer area arms management, with which Moscow goals to limit the capabilities of the United States whereas clearly having no intention of halting its personal counterspace program each ground-based anti-satellite capabilities and what would look like precise in-orbit anti-satellite weaponry.
Space Command stated that on July 15 a Russian satellite tv for pc, designated Cosmos 2543, operated in abnormally shut proximity to a U.S. govt satellite tv for pc in low-earth orbit earlier than it maneuvered away and over to a different Russian satellite tv for pc, the place it launched one other object in proximity to the Russia goal satellite tv for pc. This check is inconsistent with the meant function of the satellite tv for pc as an inspector system, as described by Russia.
Brian Weeden, an area coverage professional on the Secure World Foundation, which advocates for peaceable makes use of of outer area, stated in an interview that the U.S. and British considerations are justified.
I feel they’re on to one thing,” he stated. I, too, discovered this occasion very suspicious.”
Weeden stated an object separated from Cosmos 2543 at a pace of maybe greater than 400 miles per hour.
That is uncommon very uncommon, Weeden stated. And it is extremely much like an incident back in 2017 the place one other Russian satellite tv for pc deployed a small object at excessive pace as effectively.
Henry Hertzfeld, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, stated the July 15 incident factors up the truth that speedy advances in area automation require vigilance by U.S. protection companies, notably in gentle of worsening U.S. relations with Russia and China.
So must be we involved? I feel that’s reliable, he stated. What the intent of the eventual use of these applied sciences is, and whether or not they could be used as weapons in opposition to our belongings in area, that’s hypothesis.
Associated Press author Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
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