US space command denounces Russian “hostile” anti-satellite weapon test

The U.S. Space Command said on Wednesday it was following a Russian-led direct-ascension anti-satellite missile (DA-ASAT) test to prove whether it can interfere with or destroy satellites in low earth orbit.

“Russia’s DA-ASAT test provides another example that threats to US and allied space systems are real, serious and growing,” said General John “Jay” Raymond, commander of SPACECOM and the United States. Space force The chief of space operations said in a released statement. “The United States is ready and determined to deter aggression and to defend the nation, our allies and American interests against hostile acts in space.”

Space Command officials said the most recent test follows unprofessional behavior observed in February when two Russian satellites, Cosmos 2542 and 2543, tracked a US satellite, USA 245, also known as KH- 11. Time Magazine reported Russian satellites were prowling within 100 miles of KH-11, an activity Raymond called “unusual and disturbing”, similar to Russia’s risky and high-speed past confrontations in the airspace.

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“This test is further evidence of Russia’s hypocritical plea for outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict US capabilities while clearly having no intention of stopping its programs. counter-space weapons, ”Raymond said.

After its deactivation in 2002, Space Command reactivated in August to become the 11th Army Combat Command.

“Space is essential to all nations and to our way of life. The demands on space systems continue in this time of crisis where global logistics, transportation and communications are essential to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. “said Raymond. “It is a shared interest and responsibility of all space nations to create secure, stable and operationally sustainable conditions for space activities, including commercial, civil and national security activities.”

The Russian test follows two new reports which infer that disruptive anti-satellite actions by opposing nations are on the rise.

According to an analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on March 30, “Space threat assessment 2020,“more and more countries, including big players like the United States, Russia and China, are launching or experimenting with the next generation technologies in the space; some are gradually standardizing non-kinetic means of disrupting operations. These methods include disguising information and communications through GPS Identity theft, jamming of connections and even dazzling or blinding satellites with lasers.

The report warns of increasing adverse co-orbital activity, such as close inspection of satellites in geostationary orbit, and states that “the rate of satellite jamming and spoofing incidents will only increase. ” increase as these capabilities continue to proliferate and become more sophisticated in the years to come. . “

This report follows another study released last month by the Secure World Foundation, which said countries around the world should not ignore the reality that some bad actors can step up offensive and defensive measures in space.

“Evidence shows significant research and development of a wide range of kinetic (destructive) and non-kinetic counter-space capabilities in several countries,” says annual report Study on the global capacities of counter-space, as reported by Espace Nouvelles.

According to a 2019 SWF report, Russia has been working to scale up its in-orbit experiments – to include anti-satellite weapons – since at least 2011.

– Oriana Pawlyk can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ Oriana0214.

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