There is a disturbance in The Force.
U.S. Space Command has evidence Russia “conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon,” on July 15, according to Space.com.
A “new object” was reportedly launched from the Russian Cosmos 2543 satellite in an exercise similar to one the U.S. observed with concern in February. Space Force commander Gen. John “Jay” Raymond called that activity “unusual and disturbing.”
“These satellites displayed characteristics of a space-based weapon,” the Department of State said.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford has accused Russia of wanting to limit U.S. weapon development in space, while advancing its own celestial arms program.
CNN said Thursday’s reference to “a test” marks the first time Space Command has used that verbiage to describe Moscow’s actions with regards to its orbital space-based activities.
The U.S. got support from its allies across The Pond.
“We call on Russia to avoid any further such testing,” U.K. Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, head of the UK’s Space Directorate, said Thursday.
In April, Russia reportedly experimented with a ground-based missile system designed to destroy satellites in space. Raymond charged that that “test provides yet another example that the threats to U.S. and allied space systems are real, serious and growing.”
Popular Mechanics reports that Russia’s PL-19 Nudol missile — the one tested in the spring — is a defensive tool meant to intercept incoming projectiles, but it can also be used as a weapon against satellites close to Earth.
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