Posted tagged ‘Star Wars’

Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US

August 15, 2018


The US says it does not know what the satellite is or why it is behaving strangely

By BBC News, 08/15/2018

Source Link: Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US

{Not a moment too soon for a formal Space Force. The race is on and I’m betting Russia can’t afford it no more than they did when challenged by Reagan years ago. – LS}

A mysterious Russian satellite displaying “very abnormal behaviour” has raised alarm in the US, according to a State Department official.

“We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it,” said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland on 14 August.

She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon.

Russia has dismissed the comments as “unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicious”.

The satellite in question was launched in October last year.

“[The satellite’s] behaviour on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Ms Poblete told the conference on disarmament in Switzerland.

“Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development,” she added, citing recent comments made by the commander of Russia’s Space Forces, who said adopting “new prototypes of weapons” was a key objective for the force.

Ms Poblete said that the US had “serious concerns” that Russia was developing anti-satellite weapons.

Alexander Deynko, a senior Russian diplomat, told the Reuters news agency that the comments were “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on”.

He called on the US to contribute to a Russian-Chinese treaty that seeks to prevent an arms race in space.

‘Lasers or microwaves’

Space weapons may be designed to cause damage in more subtle ways than traditional weapons like guns, which could cause a lot of debris in orbit, explained Alexandra Stickings, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.

“[Such weapons may include] lasers or microwave frequencies that could just stop [a satellite] working for a time, either disable it permanently without destroying it or disrupt it via jamming,” she said.

But it was difficult to know what technology is available because so much information on space-based capabilities is classified, she added.

She also said it would be very difficult to prove that any event causing interference in space was an intentional, hostile action by a specific nation state.

Ms Poblete’s comments were particularly interesting in light of President Donald Trump’s decision to launch a sixth branch of the US armed forces named Space Force, added Ms Stickings.

“The narrative coming from the US is, ‘space was really peaceful, now look at what the Russians and Chinese are doing’ – ignoring the fact that the US has developed its own capabilities.”

The BBC has asked the UK’s Ministry of Defence for comment.

 

Russia Promises ‘Tough Response’ to Creation of US Space Force

June 22, 2018

If President Trump executes his plans to create a U.S. Space Force, there will be repercussions, promise Russian diplomats and politicians.

By Alicia Powe June 21, 2018 Via Gateway Pundit

Source Link: Russia Promises ‘Tough Response’ to Creation of US Space Force

{Sound familiar? This is similar to the SDI initiative Reagan used in negotiating with the Soviet Union. The reaction we see from Putin is not surprising. They couldn’t afford it then and they cannot afford it now. – LS}

The president declared Monday that the United States must return to outpacing China and Russia as competitors in space exploration and directed Pentagon leadership to create a a sixth, space-oriented branch within the U.S. military.

Russia warns Trump it will retaliate if the president proceeds to build a U.S. Space Force, arguing the development of military presence in outer space would disregard a treaty banning nuclear weapons in outer space

“Militarization of outer space is the path to disaster,” Victor Bondarev, head of the Russian Parliament’s Upper House Committee on Defense and Security, told state media Tuesday.”Let’s hope the American political elite still have the remnants of reason and common sense.”

“But if the United States withdraws from the 1967 treaty banning nuclear weapons in outer space, then, of course, not only ours, but also other states, will follow with a tough response aimed at ensuring world security,” he said, referencing the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

According to the U.S. State Department’s archives, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty is one of several “non-armament” treaties that sought to prevent “a new form of colonial competition” in the cosmos.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also criticized the formation of an American space force Wednesday.

“What makes this piece of news most alarming is the purpose of the instruction was described in very clear terms — dominance in space,” Zakharova told state media.

“Naturally, we keep the closest watch on Washington’s intentions and analyze the likely effects,” she added. “A military buildup in space, in particular, after the deployment of weapons there, would have destabilizing effects on strategic stability and international security.“

While Russia does have a branch of the military described as “space forces,” their activities are “purely defensive,” the spokeswoman said. “Our country is not interested in tackling any tasks in space with the use of attack weapons,” Zakharova said.