Russian President Vladimir Putin's Deadly Space Weapon Capable of Destroying Satellites Now Targeting US Tech, Pentagon Warns

By Madz Dizon

May 22, 2024 06:15 AM EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Deadly Space Weapon Capable of Destroying Satellites Now Targeting US Tech, Pentagon Warns
Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder answers questions during a briefing at the Pentagon April 15, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. Ryder answered a range of questions during the briefing relating primarily to the recent Iranian attack on Israel.
(Photo : Win McNamee/Getty Images)

There have been several allegations this week that Russia launched a potential counter space weapon in the same orbit as an American satellite, according to reports from the US. 

During a press conference on Tuesday, Major General Pat Ryder confirmed the news that had been initially alleged by US Ambassador Robert Wood to the UN on Monday.  

Pentagon: Russia Launches Counter Space Weapon Targeting US Tech

Ryder informed ABC News that on May 16, Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit, which is believed to be a potential counter space weapon with the capability to target other satellites in the same orbit.  

A Soyuz rocket was launched from Russia's Plesetsk launch site, located approximately 800km (500 miles) north of Moscow, on Thursday. It successfully deployed at least nine satellites into low Earth orbit. Among these satellites is COSMOS 2576, a

Russian military spacecraft that has been criticized by US officials for its perceived reckless behavior in space.

The statement noted that COSMOS 2576 bears a resemblance to previously deployed counterspace payloads from 2019 and 2022. This is in line with past Russian tactics of deploying satellites in close proximity to sensitive US spy satellites.

According to a US official familiar with the intelligence, US intelligence agencies had anticipated the launch of COSMOS 2576 and shared their assessment of the satellite with allies prior to its deployment in space.

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Russia Denies US Claims

As part of the launch, several civilian satellites were also deployed to various orbits. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has denied the US assertion, stating that Moscow is against the deployment of weapons in orbit.

According to Reuters, Ryabkov confirmed that Russia is continuing to adhere to the quantitative restrictions on nuclear weapons outlined in the New START treaty between Moscow and Washington.

In 2019, a Russian satellite released an object into space and closely monitored a satellite belonging to the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an intelligence agency responsible for surveillance satellites.

According to recent observations by space analysts, COSMOS 2576 and USA 314, a bus-sized NRO satellite launched in 2021, were found to be in the same orbital ring. However, as of Tuesday, there have been no reports of COSMOS 2576 coming into close proximity with any US satellite.

Based on an analysis of orbital data in Space Command's public satellite catalogue, it seems that the Russian satellite is following a trajectory that intersects with the orbital path of USA 314 at a higher velocity. This indicates that the two satellites will likely come closer to each other in the future, as reported by Reuters.

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