The US Space Force has confirmed that it is aware and tracking the Russian launch of a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile as part of a test, raising concerns about an ongoing space arms race.
General John Raymond, USSPACECOM commander and US Space Force Chief of Space Operations, expressed concern at the test, stating, "Russia’s DA-ASAT test provides yet another example that the threats to US and allied space systems are real, serious and growing. The United States is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the nation, our allies and US interests from hostile acts in space."
Russia’s missile system is capable of destroying satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and comes on the heels of Russia’s on-orbit testing that the US highlighted in February, namely COSMOS 2542 and COSMOS 2543.
These satellites, which behaved similar to previous Russian satellites that exhibited characteristics of a space weapon, conducted manoeuvres near a US government satellite that would be interpreted as irresponsible and potentially threatening in any other domain.
"This test is further proof of Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting their counterspace weapons programs," Gen Raymond said.
"Space is critical to all nations and our way of life. The demands on space systems continue in this time of crisis where global logistics, transportation and communication are key to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is a shared interest and responsibility of all spacefaring nations to create safe, stable and operationally sustainable conditions for space activities, including commercial, civil and national security activities."
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