US: Russia Just Launched Space Weapon Capable of Attacking Our Satellites

Russian Soyuz spacecraft. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Some readers may remember when then-President Ronald Reagan was widely ridiculed for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), nicknamed the Star Wars program, which was an effort to develop weapons systems that could knock ballistic nuclear missiles out of the sky before they could rain down on our territory. Liberals were aghast that anyone would try to find an alternative to the “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) strategy, which Reagan called a “suicide pact.”


None other than then-Sen. Joe Biden was wrong on the issue, just as he’s been wrong on virtually every other major issue since: "'Star Wars' represents a fundamental assault on the concepts, alliances and arms-control agreements that have buttressed American security for several decades, and the president’s continued adherence to it constitutes one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft,” he counseled in 1986.

Well Joe, some of the technology developed as a result of that initiative helped develop the Iron Dome, which Israel uses to shoot down Iranian missiles and Houthi projectiles. 

Reagan was right to be looking to the future because in coming years the battle may very well be fought in space. The Russians think so, evidently, because according to U.S. officials they just launched a space weapon that may have the capability to track and destroy our satellites.

Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood delivered the news at the United Nations Monday:


“On May 16, Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that the United States assesses is likely a counterspace weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Wood said in remarks before a vote on a UN Security Council resolution drafted by Russia on outer space security. “Russia deployed this new counterspace weapon into the same orbit as a US government satellite.”

Wood added that the May 16 launch “follows prior Russian satellite launches likely of counterspace systems to low Earth orbit in 2019 and 2022.”


On Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed the launch:

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Tuesday that US assessments of the Russian satellite “further indicate characteristics resembling previously deployed counterspace payloads, from 2019 and 2022.”

American officials are concerned that Russia is trying to develop a nuclear space weapon, which could have devastating effects if deployed.


The US and its allies have been working to deter Russia from developing a nuclear space weapon, CNN previously reported. If deployed, such a weapon could destroy satellites by creating a massive energy wave when detonated, potentially crippling a vast swath of the commercial and government satellites that the world below depends on to talk on cell phones, pay bills, and surf the internet.

This launch is obviously a concerning—and provocative—development. The United States must keep doing what we've been doing since the Cold War: stay one step ahead of the former Soviet Union.

More Russia:

Three Resignations and a High Profile Arrest Show the Purge of Russia's Defense Ministry Is Gaining Speed

Is Russia's Baltic GPS Jamming Harassment or a Military Test Bed?


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