The odd behavior of a new Russian satellite have officials in the US concerned about Russia’s intentions with it. While Russia says the satellite is a “space apparatus inspector,” Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Yleem D.S. Poblete said that the satellite is showing behavior “inconsistent with anything seen before”. The satellite being referenced, Kosmos 2521, was one of a set launched on June 23.
Ms. Poblete raised concerns at the UN Conference on Disarmament that the object could be a weapon. In her remarks, she stated, “We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it. But Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development.” Moscow immediately dismissed her comments.
Alexander Deyneko, a senior Russian diplomat at the conference, called Ms. Poblete’s comments “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on”. The Russian government has insisted the satellite is not a weapon. However, the way it is able to maneuver indicates it could move or damage other satellites in space, something that could be very dangerous to the US and other world economies.
According to reports, Moscow has been investing heavily in developing a satellite that could interact with other satellites in orbit. That ability would allow Moscow to cripple, kill, or attach spy equipment to the satellites of rival nations. As many vital services rely on satellites, including the internet, television, telephone, and weather forecasting, the loss of one could be a devastating blow.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has already unveiled number of new offensive weapons this year. One was the Peresvet military mobile laser system, a network of generators, sensors, and command-and-control systems transported and operated from the back of trucks. The Russians claim that the laser can shoot down satellites and ballistic missiles in their orbital phase.