No nation has been accused of breaking the international gentleman’s agreement of no weapons in space more than the Russians. But now they are accused of sending up highly maneuverable satellites for reasons that aren’t simply peaceful.
The satellites launched in March from just north of Moscow are typically used for repairs and inspecting satellites. However, these were not registered with the UN as is custom and after an incident in April the U.S. is beginning to think these craft could be used as suicide objects to take out other nations’ satellites.
In April one of these Russia craft appeared to bump an American satellite out of its normal orbit. It wasn’t severe and no debris was created but many are thinking it was a Russian military test.
What’s more concerning is these craft can be armed with lasers and other weapons, if needed.
From Defense One:
The world’s major powers follow an unwritten rule when it comes to space exploration: no weapons in orbit. But lately the three leading space nations—the US, China, and Russia—have been accused of ignoring this gentlemen’s agreement. Russia, especially.
The accusations involve a trio of Russian satellites that may be “suicide” weapons, devices that can smash into and destroy other satellites. The craft are certainly suspicious. Russia did not announce the satellites or fully register them with the UN, as launch nations generally do. The craft practically dance around in orbit. One may even have collided with another object. To be fair, the satellites could be agile spy craft or repair drones. But it’s their potential as weapons that’s worrying.
“You can probably equip them with lasers, maybe put some explosives on them,” Anatoly Zak, a space historian and journalist, told Quartz. “If [one] comes very close to some military satellite, it probably can do some harm.”
Is Russia plotting interstellar warfare? Let us know what you think is going on in the comments below!