On occasion, Russia does stupid things like play chicken with our aircraft. In addition to the stupid cowboy stunt of an SU-35 that did an inverted pass about 25 ft from a Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft the other day, Russia tested a missile on Wednesday that could destroy US satellites in low earth orbit. They’ve fired the first shot in the space arms race.
Russia tested a missile on Wednesday that is capable of destroying satellites in low-earth orbit, U.S. Space Command said in a statement, as the Pentagon faced military challenges from Russia, China, and Iran over the course of a busy day. The move could be a significant challenge to U.S. efforts to invest in communications satellites and sensor layers to track missiles in-flight—as the Space Force did during Iran’s ballistic missile attack on Iraq’s Al Asad air base in January, which left more than 100 U.S. troops with traumatic brain injuries.
“This test is further proof of Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting their counter-space weapons programs,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, Space Command’s chief.
Growing challenge. The missile test is another example of Russian forces challenging the United States in outer space in recent months, as the Trump administration has sought to get the nascent U.S. Space Force off the ground. Time reported in February that two Russian satellites had begun shadowing a U.S. satellite in outer space, a move that Raymond said had the potential to “create a dangerous situation.”
Other rivals joining in. It won’t just be Russia keeping the nascent Space Force busy: The Secure World Foundation said in its annual report last month that China, Iran, and North Korea are also looking at counter-space technologies.
Here is the problem: many (most) of our systems are completely dependent on satellites – everything from television to military communications. GPS utilizes low-earth orbit satellites (LEOs) to give you directions and our military uses them frequently. Though satellites in the LEO systems have a smaller coverage area than those in geosynchronous orbit, they are an integral part of everything from intelligence gathering to communications. Knock them out and we are suddenly in serious trouble, and not just from space junk falling to earth.
The Space Arms Race is on, and Russia isn’t the only participant. It’s the reason why President Trump said we need a Space Force. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are aiming put weapons systems in space that threaten us. It’s a competition that has been growing year after year, as we previously reported.
The President was finally able to obtain his Space Force, but not without constant griping from Democrats.
Featured photo of a Low Earth Orbit Satellite via Twitter