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Mystery Russian satellite 'could be a weapon'


Posted on Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 | Comment icon 20 comments

Has Russia launched a weapon in to space ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
A US State Department official has revealed that one Russian satellite is exhibiting 'very abnormal behavior'.
"Serious concerns" over the matter were voiced by US assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

It is thought that the satellite, which launched in October, could be some sort of space weapon.

"We don't know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it," said Poblete.

"[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."

"Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development."

Senior Russian diplomat Alexander Deynko has since denied the allegations, describing them as "the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on."

Just recently, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin - commander of Russia's aerospace forces - generated controversy when he reportedly stated that "assimilate[ing] new prototypes of weapons [into] space forces' military units" was a "main task facing the Aerospace Forces Space Troops."

It remains unclear exactly what types of weapons he was referring to.


Source: BBC News | Comments (20)

Tags: Russia, Satellite

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by and then on 16 August, 2018, 1:27
I don't know what "we've" been doing with that handy dandy little platform but I sure hope it has something to do with crippling a potential enemy's battlespace awareness.  Satellites have become critical infrastructure for the warfare of the 21st century.  Take enough or the "right" ones out and the enemy is blind to movements and even better, to intentions...
Comment icon #12 Posted by Nnicolette on 16 August, 2018, 2:01
Thats funny timing, just last week i noticed a number of people promoting the conspiracy theory that some of these fires starting are caused by a new russian satellite using lasers to ignite them, hence some of the odd new characteristics. Just a rumor that is floating around... but a timely coincidence.
Comment icon #13 Posted by ChrLzs on 16 August, 2018, 4:24
Yup.  2010: The Year we Make Contact is the film being referred to here, I think.  It was the surprisingly good (imo) follow up to 2001: A Space Odyssey, although it's a film of a completely different style to Kubrick's artistic masterpiece... Getting back to the topic - I note that this is a remarkable, gosh almost unbelievable coincidence, given the 'Space-Force' being regarded with derision and needing a bit of a boost... and also that gee whiz, those unusual and completely unspecified behaviours sure are ... er ... non-existent?
Comment icon #14 Posted by and then on 16 August, 2018, 11:06
Come now, ChrLzs, surely you're not calling this...dare I say it?  FAKE NEWS    Seriously though, I would like to hear a deion of this unprecedented behavior of the satellite.  But I'd a LOT rather know what our little Boeing X-37 has been up to.  It isn't impossible that we've stationed a weapons platform in orbit but I doubt it.  I think it might be more of a defensive weapon to use against satellites that we suspect are actually hunter-killer types.  
Comment icon #15 Posted by highdesert50 on 16 August, 2018, 14:34
Egad, history repeats itself as the Sputnik crisis yet again emerges as an idiotic race for perceived dominance. We teeter on a belief system rooted in fear of our neighbors rather than on real challenges that affect all of us, such as climate change.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Calibeliever on 16 August, 2018, 17:26
As I suspected a couple of weeks ago when the "Space Force" was announced, every launch from a foreign country will now be represented by western media as "suspicious". I'm not saying they aren't, I'm just saying.
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer on 16 August, 2018, 19:27
Maybe the Chinese built it for them.  The Chinese space station worked well.
Comment icon #18 Posted by ChrLzs on 16 August, 2018, 22:09
Thing is, there's *huge* number of amateur and professional astronomers out there who delight in watching and carefully tracking satellites, old and new.  If it is maneuvering (ie changing orbit) then people will see it and report it.  You can't hide a satellite - when it is illuminated (ie not in Earth's shadow), from any part of the ground below that is *not* sunlit, it will be clearly seen and tracked.  Now, I admit I haven't checked the astronomy forums to see what the sat is *actually* doing, but it does seem odd that the gubmint would make such a non-specific claim about 'strange' behavi... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Trihalo42 on 18 August, 2018, 13:30
2014 "Russia now has an ‘inspector satellite’ that could chase down or destroy other orbiting spacecraft" https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/194442-russia-now-has-an-inspector-satellite-that-could-chase-down-or-destroy-other-orbiting-spacecraft 2007 "China's Anti-Satellite Test: Worrisome Debris Cloud Circles Earth" https://www.space.com/3415-china-anti-satellite-test-worrisome-debris-cloud-circles-earth.html
Comment icon #20 Posted by Occams Razor on 20 August, 2018, 1:11
I'm sure the X-37B has cameras on it, they'll just use that to take a look and maybe even pictures of it.


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