According to officials from the US Space Command (USSC), Russia has launched a new test of an anti-satellite missile, in an action that shows the increasing militarization of space.
The test involved a direct ascent anti-satellite missile (DA-ASAT) that is designed to destroy small satellites in low Earth orbit. It is Russia’s third anti-satellite test this year alone.
“Russia publicly states that it is working to prevent the transformation of outer space into a battlefield, but at the same time Moscow continues to militarize it through the development and deployment of in-orbit and ground-based capabilities, which seek to exploit our dependence on our space systems, “said the head of the US Space Command, James Dickinson, in an official statement.
But it’s not just the US military satellites that are at stake. The statement notes that ASAT missiles could “cause a large debris field that could endanger commercial satellites and irrevocably contaminate the space domain.”
Dickinson also said that “Russia has made space a war domain” with the evidence, a fact that is “inconsistent with Moscow’s public claims that Russia seeks to prevent conflict up there.”
Destruction in space Using Anti-Satellite Missile.
In 2017 and 2020, Russia also demonstrated a space system called “coorbital ASAT,” which involves injecting a new orbiting object and conducting a “non-destructive test” of an anti-satellite weapon, The Hill reports .
The news also comes after Indian authorities successfully tested an anti-satellite missile in March 2019. Months later, the resulting cloud of debris continued to endanger satellites and even astronauts aboard the International Space Station.