Pentagon Wants to Make Its Space Assets ‘More Difficult to Find’ After Russia’s Anti-Satellite Test
15:08 GMT 18.11.2021 (Updated: 19:04 GMT 03.11.2022)
Earlier this week, Russia’s Defence Ministry stressed that the US was well aware that fragments of the downed Russian satellite pose no threat to the International Space Station and other space assets, given the test's timing and orbital parameters.
The US Space Force director of staff, Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, has said she believes that Russia’s recent anti-satellite launch
further necessitates the military's drive to better defend American space assets.
She told reporters that for the Space Force, it means finding effective ways to make space assets “more difficult to find or less juicy”.
“We’re doing this mission area by mission area. We need to take our missile-warning assets, we need to add layers of orbits, hybrid capabilities, smaller satellites, and commercially provided capabilities. That will all complicate Russia targeting our prime missile-warning capabilities”, Armagno argued.
She went on by claiming that “What we’re seeing Russia demonstrate is a weapon” and that “if they can destroy a Russian satellite, they can destroy an American satellite”.
17 December 2020, 14:58 GMT
The Lt. Gen. spoke after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova underscored on Tuesday that the test, during which the inoperative Russian spacecraft Tselina-D was hit, was was conducted in accordance with international norms.
“This event was carried out in strict accordance with international law, including the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and was not directed against anyone. Given the test time and orbit parameters, the fragments formed during it did not pose a threat and did not interfere or hinder the operation orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities. These fragments are included in the main catalog of the domestic space control system and immediately taken for appropriate support until they cease to exist", Zakharova said in a statement.
She also stressed that the test was implemented within the framework of “the planned activities of the Russian Defense Ministry to ensure defense capability, aimed at preventing sudden damage to the country's security in the space sector and on the Earth by existing and promising space assets of other states”.
Separately, Zakharova drew attention to the fact that since the 1950s, the US “has been steadily pursuing a policy of using outer space for conducting combat operations and deploying strike weapons systems in it in order to achieve military superiority up to the achievement of total domination in space”.
“We are talking, first of all, about the creation of a space-based anti-missile grouping (including interceptors), as well as means of unauthorized influence on objects of orbital space infrastructure", the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova said.
The statement followed Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirming that Moscow had successfully tested an anti-satellite system, which “has hit an old [Russian] satellite precisely”.
21 September 2021, 16:02 GMT
According to him, the fragments of the old satellite, which formed during the testing of the anti-satellite system, do not pose any threat to space activities.
Shoigu responded to allegations by US State Department's spokesperson Ned Price who asserted that a Russian anti-satellite test resulted in “over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of small orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations”.
I,n June 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the new space strategy unveiled by the US as "aggressive" accusing Washington of trying to weaponise outer space.
The ministry added that space is seen by Washington as an arena for "warfare”, describing it as "destructive" approach which “provokes an arms race in space”.
"Russia holds the diametrically opposing position, giving priority to using and studying space only for peaceful goals”, the ministry pointed out.