IT’s small. It’s nimble. It’s doing strange things over our heads. And Russia’s new Kosmos 2521 satellite has the potential to bring the world’s economy to its knees.
“We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it,” State Department assistant secretary Yleem Poblete told a conference this week. “But Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development — particularly, when considered in concert with statements by Russia’s Space Force Commander.”
She said its manoeuvres indicated it could be an anti-satellite weapon.
And this has dire implications: Vital services such as the internet, television, telephone and GPS all rely on satellites. As does a swath of other services — such as weather forecasting and firefighting.
“In October of last year the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed a space object they claimed was a ‘space apparatus inspector.’ But its behaviour on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Ms Poblete told a conference on disarmament in Switzerland.
Moscow immediately dismissed her comments.
The State Department’s fears were “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on,” Russian diplomat Alexander Deynko told Reuters.
But Russia’s Space Force Commander has already stated publicly it is developing “new prototypes” of space weapons.
Is this one of them?
Whatever the case, the Pentagon is clearly rattled.
“Although US space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now actively developing way to deny our use of space in a crisis,” a US Department of Defence report released earlier this month reads.
BATTLING IN ORBIT
While Poblete did not specify which Russian satellite she was talking about, military analysts believe it was one of a set launched on June 23. A month later, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced it had launched “a small-sized spacecraft has separated from a space platform in order to inspect condition of the Russian satellite.”
Kosmos 2521 was believed deployed from another satellite, Kosmos 2519. Close by is another satellite, Kosmos 2523.
Exactly what these Russian satellites have been doing that is “very troubling” is unknown.
But Moscow has reportedly been investing heavily in obtaining the ability for a satellite to move around in orbit and interact with other satellites. This could give it the ability to attach spy equipment to an opponent’s satellite, push it out of alignment, distort its signals, damage it, destroy it — or even potentially capture it.
Continue Reading: https://www.news.com.au/