US Space Force says Russia is testing weapons in space

The chief of Space Operations of U.S. Space Force and commander of U.S. Space Command, Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, briefs from the Pentagon Press Briefing Room about COVID-19, Washington, D.C., March 27, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

On Thursday, the 8-month-old U.S. Space Force accused Russia of testing an anti-satellite weapon from one of its satellites in orbit. 

General John “Jay” Raymond, the top general of the U.S. Space Force issued a statement. The U.S. is publicly accusing the Kremlin of carrying out a weapon’s test in space. This is a troubling new development in the new space race.

The U.S. Space Command (USSC), better known as Space Force had “evidence that Russia conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon.” This is the first time Americans have publicly accused the Kremlin of carrying out an anti-satellite weapons test in space.

Russia in-orbit testing of an anti-satellite weapon

For months American intelligence analysts were tracking a pair of Russian satellites, identified as Cosmos 2542 and 2543. Or rather, they were watching one satellite which split into two crafts.

By mid-January, both Russian satellites had floated near a multi billion-dollar U.S. spacecraft known as KH-11, perhaps the military’s most powerful spy tool, part of a reconnaissance constellation (code-named Keyhole/-CRYSTAL). The Cosmos satellites were either threatening or surveilling the KH-11. The intent was unclear.