The U.S. Space Command has evidence that Russia has conducted a non-destructive test of space-based anti-satellite weapons. Russia placed a new object in orbit from Cosmos-2543 on July 15.
The Russian Federation launched this object in close proximity to another Russian satellite, which is similar to the orbit activities carried out by Russia in 2017 and does not correspond to the satellite system’s declared mission. Monitoring data can be found at www.space-track.org.
“The same Russian satellite system was used to conduct this weapon test in orbit as we had raised concerns earlier this year when Russia maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite,” said U.S. Space Command Chief General John Raymond. – This is further evidence of Russia’s ongoing efforts to develop and test space systems and is consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine of deploying weapons that put U.S. and allied space assets at risk.
In 2018, as well as this year, the U.S. State Department expressed concern that the behavior of Russian satellites is inconsistent with their declared mission and that these satellites demonstrate the characteristics of space weapons. According to the State Department, this behavior is hypocritical and worrying.
“This event highlights the hypocritical nature of Russia’s calls for space arms control, through which Moscow is seeking to limit U.S. capabilities, without clearly intending to stop its own countermeasures program in space, both in terms of ground-based anti-satellite capabilities and assets that could actually be anti-satellite weapons in orbit,” states Dr. Christopher Ford, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, currently acting Deputy Secretary of State.
Last week’s test is yet another example that threats to U.S. space systems and their allies are real, serious and growing. The development and testing of orbital weapons in Russia underscores the importance of the U.S. Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. military and the U.S. Space Command as the nation’s unified combat command for space. Creating conditions for a safe, stable and promptly sustainable space environment is in the interests of all spacefaring states and is their duty.
“The United States, in coordination with our allies, is ready and firmly committed to containing aggression and protecting the nation, our allies and the interests of the United States from hostile actions in space,” General Raymond concluded.