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US Preparing For Russian Attack On Its Satellites

US Preparing For Russian Attack On Its Satellites

The Russian Cosmos-2576 approached the American satellites.

Russia is escalating the situation in space, and after several years of testing, it launched a satellite into orbit that could pose a threat to American spacecraft. The US Space Command is preparing for a possible attack, said its head, General Stephen Whiting, writes The Moscow Times.

Launched on May 16, the Cosmos 2576 satellite was sent into low-Earth orbit and brought into operational condition, Whiting said on June 24, speaking at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies (he was quoted by SpaceNews). “And if you look at where the satellite is located,” on the same plane as the American national security satellite, “it doesn’t seem random,” the commander noted.

This arrangement allows the Russian device to observe the American satellite, track it and, potentially, interfere with its operation, SpaceNews explains.

Cosmos 2576, according to the Pentagon, “is a counter-space weapon believed to be capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” US Defense Department spokesman Pat Ryder said days after its launch. At the same time, Deputy US Representative to the UN for Special Affairs Robert Wood spoke about this during a discussion in the Security Council of the Russian resolution banning the deployment of any weapons in outer space. Russian Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya responded by saying that he “didn’t even understand what he [Wood] was talking about.”

Cosmos-2576 was launched on the night of May 17 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome along with other civilian vehicles that were distributed in other orbits.

“Such a mixed military-civilian cargo came as a complete surprise. I’ve never seen anything like this from Russia before,” analyst Bart Hendricks, who has long studied the Russian space program, told Reuters. “Cosmos-2576” was launched into an orbit identical to the American reconnaissance satellite USA-314, the agency noted, citing public data from the US Space Command on the location of the satellites.

Russia tested similar anti-space weapons in 2017, 2019 and 2022, “and now they appear to have put one into orbit in working order,” Whiting said. The United States takes such activity seriously and is working to respond to potential attacks on its spacecraft,” he added.

Rising tensions in space come amid US allegations that Russia is developing space-based nuclear weapons. Moreover, on February 5, 2022, it launched Cosmos 2553, designed to test components for a potential nuclear-capable anti-satellite weapon, US officials told The Wall Street Journal in May.

At the end of April, Moscow vetoed a UN resolution that would have confirmed the ban on the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. The document calls on countries to comply with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, under which all parties agreed “not to place in orbit around the Earth objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction.”

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