A Russian satellite caught shadowing a US spy satellite

A Russian satellite caught shadowing a US spy satellite earlier this year launched a mysterious space weapon, US Space Command says

(Source  businessinsider.com)

US Space Command said Thursday that it has evidence that Russia tested a space-based anti-satellite weapon last week, revealing that Cosmos 2543, a Russian satellite caught tailing a US spy satellite earlier this year, released some sort of projectile into orbit. “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 US government satellite,” Gen. John Raymond, the commander of US Space Command, said in a statement. The Russian satellites first raised a few eyebrows shortly after launch last year. What had at first appeared to be one satellite suddenly split in two, with one emerging from inside the other. Now, additional objects are being released into orbit. “The way I picture it, in my mind, is like Russian nesting dolls,” Raymond said when he described the situation in February. In the statement Thursday, US Space Command noted that the Russian anti-satellite test appeared similar to a troubling 2017 test, which the Pentagon discussed during its presentation of the new Defense Space Strategy in June. The Russians launched a satellite as they had done before, but then events began to unfold as they have lately. “Out of that satellite, Russian satellite, a smaller satellite was birthed from that main satellite. From that smaller satellite, a projectile was launched from that Russian satellite,” Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, explained to reporters at the Pentagon.Russia claimed the third object was an inspector satellite, but “the behavior of that satellite looked nothing like an inspector satellite and looked like something much more concerning,” Kitay said, citing State Department observations. The new Defense Space Strategy identifies Russia and China as “the most immediate and serious threats to US space operations.” In mid-April, Russia conducted a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile test, which US Space Command said was another example that “the threats to US and allied space systems are real, serious and growing.”

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