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Russia Has Many Questions About US Activities in Outer Space

Tass News Agency (Russia)                           April 17, 2020                            (tass.com)

• (On April 15th, General John “Jay” Raymond, the head of U.S. Space Command and chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force publicly announced that Russia had conducted a direct ascent anti-satellite missile test. In a statement, Raymond declared that the Russian test provided “yet another example that the threats to U.S. and allied space systems are real, serious and growing.” Raymond added, “The United States is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our allies, and U.S. interests from hostile acts in space.” (see article here))

• Commenting on recent statements by General Raymond about Russia’s test launch of an anti-satellite missile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova (pictured above) said on Friday, “We also have a lot of questions (about the U.S. activities in outer space). We asked them quite a long time ago and want to have an answer.” Apparently, Moscow has been asking the U.S. for a meaningful Russian-U.S. dialogue on a wide spectrum of issues of space activities. Senior Russian and US diplomats agreed on January 16th to resolve mutual concerns.

• Zakharova says that Raymond’s statements are part of a deliberate campaign to discredit Russia’s peace initiatives in space, to avoid another Cold War. She said that US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford had made similarly provocative claims about Russian space activities. Zakharova believes these verbal attacks are “nothing but the United States’ attempt to divert public attention from real threats in space, and to justify its moves to deploy weapons in outer space and obtain extra financing for such causes.”

• The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson branded U.S. alarm about Russian space activities as “fake”. “[S]erious concerns… cannot be resolved by means of such statements,” said Zakharova. “It is necessary to use the existing channels for expert and political dialogue… We do have such channels and it is necessary simply to use them. Unwillingness to do so is rather an evidence of [the] insufficiently grounded position of our American colleagues.”

[Editor’s Note]  In February, General Raymond publicly called Russia out about a pair of Russian satellites deployed to pursue a US satellite last November, sometimes coming within 100 miles of it. “This is unusual and disturbing behavior …[that] 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.” (see previous ExoArticle here)

 

      General John “Jay” Raymond

MOSCOW – Moscow is waiting for Washington to answer its questions about the US activities in outer

  Christopher Ford

space, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday, commenting on the statements by Gen. John Raymond, the first chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force, about Russia’s alleged test launch of an anti-satellite missile.

“We also have a lot of questions. We asked them quite a long time ago and want to have an answer after all. A full-fledged meaningful Russian-US dialogue on a wide spectrum of issues of space activities security Russian and US senior diplomats agreed on on January 16 will help resolve mutual concerns,” she said.

Zakharova described Raymond’s statements as “Washington’s deliberate campaign to discredit Russia’s space activities and peace initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space.” She recalled that it was not the first such allegation voiced by the US side. “Previously, such claims were voiced by US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford. We have commented on each and every such anti-Russian attack which are all nothing but the United States’ attempt to divert public attention from real threats in space and to justify its moves to deploy weapons in outer space and obtain extra financing for such causes,” Zakharova stressed.

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What Really is the U.S. Space Force?

 

Article by Alex Polimeni                            March 23, 2020                              (crimson.fit.edu)

• Space has become an increasingly contested environment. The United States relies on satellites for missile warning, GPS navigation, secured communications, and intelligence gathering, all which are essential to America’s national security. But China, Russia, and India are among the countries that have rapidly advanced their anti-satellite weaponry to pose an extreme danger to American assets.

• If GPS satellites were to go offline, the financial system would crash, public navigation would be hindered, the power grid would be affected, military aircraft would lose navigation, and GPS guided bombs and missiles would be rendered useless. The US Space Force was formed late last year following increased hostility from other nations in space.

• At the initiation of Space Force, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, “Now is the time for the US Space Force to lead our nation in preparing for emerging threats in an evolving space environment.” With Space Force, the US will be in a position to defend our national interests and outpace potential adversaries. Today, all GPS navigation satellites are controlled by the Space Force.

• Before the inception of Space Force, when satellites were seemingly out of reach, the US Air Force Space Command was responsible for the defense of our military assets in space. But in recent years, Russia and China have increased their aggression in space, deploying military satellites near US commercial satellites and building anti-satellite weapons within range of nearly all Earth satellite orbits. Space is now a warfighting domain.

• General John Raymond, head of Space Force, told the House Armed Services Committee, “Let me be very clear, we do not want a conflict that extends into space. But one way to keep that from happening is to make sure that we’re prepared for it and [can] fight and win that conflict if it were to occur.”

• Although Space Force remains under the supervision of the Department of the Air Force, it is separately funded and has a Joint-Chief of Staff that directly advises the President. Former Air Force bases at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg are to be renamed and transferred to Space Force.

• Space is the next battleground frontier. America’s military-might now depends on space. It is paramount that we are ready and willing to counter aggression and protect our space assets at all costs.

 

Missile warning, GPS navigation, secured communications, and intelligence gathering; all of these share

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper

one commonality— they are essential to America’s national security.

The United States Space Force was formed late last year following increased hostility from other nations in space including China and Russia.

Space has become an increasingly contested environment. The United States relies on a plethora of defense satellites, spanning through multiple orbits. Orbits thought to be safe and out of reach. However, anti-satellite weapons have rapidly advanced, and pose an extreme danger to American assets.

According to an NPR report, countries including China, Russia, and India all have demonstrated anti-satellite capabilities through test launches.

       General John Raymond

Yet, as most Americans are not aware of these critical space-based assets, they could not even picture life without these unique capabilities. These satellites orbit overhead, in the shadow of the public eye. The satellites of the United States Space Force support every warfighting domain; including land, sea, air and space.

Daily life is intertwined around satellites owned by the Space Force. All GPS navigation satellites are controlled by the United States Space Force. If GPS satellites were to go offline, the financial system would crash, public navigation would be hindered, the power grid would be affected, military aircraft would have no sense of navigation, and more, according to an article from The Atlantic. Furthermore, GPS guided bombs and missiles would be rendered useless, according to a 60 Minutes interview with Bridger General Bill Cooley, the Commander at the Air Force Research Laboratory located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

In addition to the well-known GPS satellites, America relies on several other constellations, or groups of satellites, to monitor the globe for missile launches, provide secured communications, and more.

 

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Space Force Head Slams Russia for Trailing US Spy Satellite With Two Spacecraft

 

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 “Jay” Raymond 

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.’

                  Michael Thompson

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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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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