Is Russia preparing for war in space? A report by the Daily Mail claims that three mysterious Russian satellites, also known as “killer satellites,” have come back online after two years of being inoperative. This news has experts thinking that Russia turned these satellites back on as a way to prepare for fighting a war from space.
Doctor Laura Grego is a space expert with the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Grego was interviewed by the Daily Beast where she commented on the Russian satellites.
“I do find very interesting that the satellite would go dormant for two years and then come back to life to maneuver. That could help the satellite be stealthy. One strategy to keep maneuvering satellites stealthy is to pretend they are debris — i.e., not to have them maneuver at all at first, and then come to life later. To be confident this works, you might want to be able to test if your equipment works after being idle for months or years.”
The three satellites, officially named Kosmos-2491, Kosmos-2499, and Kosmos-2504, were launched between 2013 and 2015. Military personnel responsible for monitoring space traffic took notice due to the movements that these satellites were making. Experts came to the conclusion that Russia was using these satellites as tools for spying or that they were designed to be weapons of war. Speculation on the satellites forced Russia to make a public statement about them. Oleg Ostapenko, chief of the Russian space agency stated publically that these satellites were not “killer satellites.”
— Rus to En Fr Es News (@Rus_Eng_News) May 20, 2017
When Russia was preparing to launch the first of these satellites they did so by hiding it within a launch of three communication satellites. Communication satellites do not have the ability to propel themselves into a different orbit. Experts on the ground knew something was up when they realized that one of the “communication satellites” went into a different orbit.
What makes these satellites so dangerous is their maneuverability. These satellites are able to get extremely close to other space objects, which could lead to Russia being able to hack or destroy them based on what their main objective is. Russian journalist, Anatoly Zak commented on the potential of these Russian satellites.
“Looking at the history of space technology, it often starts with a small and cheap satellite that’s easy to launch, then the same technology gets incorporated into something larger. You can probably equip them with lasers, maybe put some explosives on them. If [one] comes very close to some military satellite, it probably can do some harm.”
Not all experts are claiming that Russia is gearing up for an all-out space war. Brian Weeden is a space expert at the Secure World Foundation in Colorado and he gives another point of view on the situation.
“In most cases, it’s far easier to jam a satellite’s communications or hit it with a missile than try and do some sort of destructive co-orbital rendezvous. The capability to do rendezvous and proximity operations… has a whole bunch of applications — civil, commercial and military.”
— The Royal Vox Post (@RoyalVoxPost) May 19, 2017
Governments are notorious for being secretive about what type of spacecraft and satellites that they put into orbit. Russia has publicly stated that these satellites are not weapons but even if they were, the Russian government would not say they were.
Do you think these “killer satellites” are harmless communication satellites or are these satellites new Russian weapons meant to fight the next major war from space?
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