Article by Denis Bedoya February 15, 2020 (infosurhoy.com)
• On November 26, 2019, the Russian spacecraft, Cosmos 2542, was launched into orbit around the Earth. Two weeks later on December 6th, US military analysts noted that the satellite had unexpectedly split in two. A smaller satellite had effectively been ‘birthed’ from the larger one. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed the separation and said the purpose of the experiment was to ‘assess the technical condition of domestic satellites’.
• Operating in a polar oribit several hundred miles above the Earth, the pair of Russian satellites’ sensors and cameras are said to be focused on foreign adversaries’ top-secret military installations.
• But in mid-January, analysts noticed that the two Russian satellites were flying close by an American satellite dubbed USA 245. The American satellite is part of a reconnaissance constellation operated by the National Reconnaissance Office based in Virginia.
• On January 30, space enthusiast Michael Thompson raised concerns on Twitter, saying “there are a hell of a lot of circumstances that make it look like a known Russian inspection satellite is currently inspecting a known US spy satellite.” Thompson suggested that Cosmos 2542 may be getting close to USA 245 to take intelligence photos of the satellite or to debilitate it.
• Russia has a number of communications satellites positioned above the Earth that the Kremlin could use to gather intelligence, disable or destroy other satellites. This could potentially usher in a new era of ‘space war’.
• General John Raymond, the Chief of Space Operations for America’s Space Force, said the two Russian satellites began pursuing the multi-billion dollar US satellite in November and have at times flown within 100 miles it. “This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space,” said Raymond. “The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation.” The US has raised concerns about the matter through diplomatic channels with Moscow.
• The confrontation marks the first time the US military has publicly identified a direct threat to a specific American satellite by an adversary. The Pentagon, the White House, and Congressional backers say that Russia’s actions demonstrate the need for the Space Force, which was enacted into law in December.
A top Space Force official has lashed out at Russia for trailing a US spy satellite with two spacecraft.
Gen John Raymond, the chief of space operations for America’s newly-minted Space Force, said the two Russian satellites began pursuing the multi-billion dollar US satellite in November and have at times flown within 100 miles it.
‘This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space,’ Raymond said in a statement to Business Insider.
‘The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation.’
The US has raised concerns about the matter to Moscow through diplomatic channels, Raymond told Time magazine, which first reported the stalking on Monday.
The confrontation marks the first time the US military has publicly identified a direct threat to a specific American satellite by an adversary.
Pentagon, White House and Congressional backers have said that Russia’s actions demonstrate the need for the Space Force, which became the sixth military branch when President Donald Trump signed the $738billion National Defense Authorization Act into law in December.
US military analysts first took note of the Russian mission when a spacecraft that was launched into orbit on November 26 – the Cosmos 2542 – unexpectedly split into two about two weeks later.
Closer inspection revealed that the second smaller satellite – Cosmos 2543 – had been effectively ‘birthed’ from the first.
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