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    Soldier of the 4th Brigade Air Defense (NORAD) air and space defense forces (ASD) in the combat control room

    On Guard: Russian Space Forces Detect Over 50 Ballistic Missile Launches in 2017

    © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
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    Russia's Space Forces have identified over 50 ballistic missile launches so far in 2017, Space Forces commander Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Golovko has revealed.

    "Through the course of the current year, on-duty units of the Russian missile warning system, specialized means of space monitoring, and missile defense units have identified over 50 launches of foreign and domestic ballistic missiles and space rockets," Golovko said, speaking to reporters on the occasion of the Space Forces' celebration of its professional holiday.

    In the same period, specialists from the Space Forces' Main Space Intelligence Center have identified and tracked about a thousand space-based objects, monitored the deployment over 350 space craft into Earth orbit, observed about 190 objects as they left Earth orbit, and issued 10 warnings about space-based objects coming too close to Russian satellites and other spacecraft.

    Officers with the 4th Brigade Air Defense (NORAD) air and space defense (ASD) forces in the combat control room in the Moscow region
    © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
    Officers with the 4th Brigade Air Defense (NORAD) air and space defense (ASD) forces in the combat control room in the Moscow region

    On Wednesday, the Space Forces mark Space Forces Day, celebrated on the anniversary of the launch of Earth's first artificial satellite (AES) in 1957.  October 4, 1957 "was the dawn of the space era for the Soviet Union," Golovko recalled. On this day, "Earth's first artificial satellite was successfully launched from the Baikonur commodore."

    The commander proudly added that the preparation, launch and monitoring of the world's first AES was conducted by specialists from military formations of the predecessors of today's Space Forces.

    60 years ago, a network of ground-based command, control and measurement stations was created across the USSR. The stations assisted in work with spacecraft operating at high angles of inclination, survey trajectory and telemetric measurement work, and the transmission of commands and programs throughout spacecraft flights over the country.

    Golovko noted that from that point on, all domestic and foreign space programs would be monitored by the Space Forces. This included the first manned space missions, the Moon missions, missions to explore Mars and Venus, complex experiments conducted in open space, the flight of the Buran, the USSR's reusable space shuttle, the management of the Mir space station, and the creation of the International Space Station.

    The Anti-Missile and Space Defense Forces were first formed in 1967 as a separate section of the military. Reorganized into the Ministry of Space Defense Space Units in 1982, the Space Forces were incorporated into the Strategic Rocket Forces in 1997. They were reborn in 2001, and became part of the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2015. Their tasks include informing military command and the country's leaders of incoming missile attack, the organization of missile defense, and the creation, deployment and control of orbiting spacecraft, including Russia's GLONASS global positioning system network.

    ballistic missile, ballistic missile launches, Russian Space Forces, Alexander Golovko, Russia
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