The United States has voiced its concerns over the unusual behavior of a Russian satellite.
According to reports, alarms are currently ringing within the walls of the Pentagon after it tracked the “very abnormal behavior” of Kosmos 2521, the Russian satellite that was deployed in October of last year. It appears that the relatively small and agile satellite is doing something strange above our heads and the U.S. fears it could potentially cause harm to the world economy.
“We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it. But Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development — particularly, when considered in concert with statements by Russia’s Space Force Commander,” Yleem Poblete, State Department assistant secretary, said in a statement.
Poblete voiced her fears about the impossibility of knowing whether or not the satellite could be used as a weapon at a conference in Switzerland last August 14th.
“[The satellite’s] behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Poblete went on to say.
She cited the comments recently made by some of Russia’s top officials, including those of President Vladimir Putin, about the country’s continuous development of space weapons and the mobile laser Russia unveiled last March that could take down satellites.
“The Russian pursuit of counter space capabilities is consistent with these other activities and is disturbing given the recent pattern of Russian malign behavior,” she said.
However, one of Russia’s senior diplomats, Alexander Deyneko, dismissed the United States’ allegations as “unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions.” Instead, he asked the United States to contribute to a so-called Russian-Chinese treaty that seeks to stop the space arms race.
At the moment, it’s difficult to determine what sort of space weapon technologies already exist since most information about them is highly classified. A weapon system in space could cause damage in more subtle ways. For instance, an ASAT or anti-satellite weapon could use lasers or microwave frequencies to disable satellites temporarily or permanently.
Top U.S. diplomats have also accused Russia of continuously violating the international commitments on arms control, citing that the country can’t be trusted.