US Space Force says Russia is testing weapons in space

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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.