Despite all of the diplomatic niceties that speak to the contrary, the United States and Russia are still very much in competition for military superiority on a global scale. Now it appears as though this arms race is going orbital.
Russia has long been tinkering with the idea of space weapons, even going so far as to repeatedly claim that they’ve successfully tested a number of hypersonic missiles that could reach the United States in just a matter of minutes from the outskirts of our atmosphere. These devices would travel at such a speed that intercepting them would be impossible with the current, known technology in the possession of the United States.
And the Russians haven’t stopped there, either.
“On July 15, Russia injected a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543,” the eight-month-old agency says in a statement. “Russia released this object in proximity to another Russian satellite, which is similar to on-orbit activity conducted by Russia in 2017, and inconsistent with the system’s stated mission as an inspector satellite.”
In a sign outer space could be turning into a theater of war for terrestrial adversaries, it marked the first time the U.S. military has publicly charged Moscow with carrying out a space-based weapons test.
The rhetoric coming out of the Pentagon was not for the faint of heart.
According to Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who in addition to being the Space Force’s chief of space operations also commands the U.S. Space Command, the Russian satellite system used in the test is the same one that prompted U.S. protests earlier this year after it allegedly sidled up close to a U.S. spy satellite.
“This is further evidence of Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems,” Raymond charges in the official statement, “and consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk.”
All of this comes at a time in which Russia continues to antagonize the United States with cyber warfare and electoral meddling.
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