Press Release

Russia conducts space-based anti-satellite weapons test

By SpaceRef Editor
July 23, 2020
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U.S. Space Command has evidence that Russia conducted a
non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon. On July 15,
Russia injected a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543, currently
Satellite Catalog Number 45915 in 

Russia released this object in proximity to another Russian
satellite, which is similar to on-orbit activity conducted by Russia in
2017, and inconsistent with the system’s stated mission as an inspector
satellite. Tracking information can be found on

“The Russian satellite system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons
test is the same satellite system that we raised concerns about earlier
this year, when Russia maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite,”
said Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Commander of U.S. Space Command and
U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations. “This is further evidence of
Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems,
and consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ
weapons that hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk.”

The U.S. State Department raised concerns in 2018, and again this
year, that Russian satellite behaviors were inconsistent with their
stated mission and that these satellites displayed characteristics of a
space-based weapon. According to the Department of State, this behavior
is hypocritical and concerning.

“This event highlights Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space
arms control, with which Moscow aims to restrict the capabilities of the
United States while clearly having no intention of halting its own
counterspace program — both ground-based anti-satellite capabilities and
what would appear to be actual in-orbit anti-satellite weaponry,” said
Dr. Christopher Ford, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State currently
performing the duties of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and
International Security.

Last week’s test is another example that the threats to U.S. and
Allied space systems are real, serious and increasing. Russia’s
development and testing of orbital weapons highlights the importance of
establishing the U.S. Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces
and the U.S. Space Command as the nation’s unified combatant command for
space. It is a shared interest and responsibility of all spacefaring
nations to create the conditions for a safe, stable, and operationally
sustainable space environment.

“The United States, in coordination with our allies, is ready and
committed to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our
allies and vital U.S. interests from hostile acts in space,” Raymond

SpaceRef staff editor.