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US assesses Russia launched space weapon in path of American satellite

22/5/2024 11:25
        Russia last week launched a satellite that U.S. intelligence officials believe to be a weapon capable of inspecting and attacking other satellites, the U.S. Space Command said on Tuesday as the Russian spacecraft trails a U.S. spy satellite in orbit.
        
        Russia's Soyuz rocket blasted off from its Plesetsk launch site some 500 miles (800 km) north of Moscow on May 16, deploying in low-Earth orbit at least nine satellites including COSMOS 2576, a type of Russian military "inspector" spacecraft U.S. officials have long condemned as exhibiting reckless space behavior.
        
        A USSPACECOM spokesperson said in a statement, "We have observed nominal activity and assess it is likely a counterspace weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit."
        
        "Russia deployed this new counterspace weapon into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite."
        
        COSMOS 2576 resembled previously deployed counterspace payloads from 2019 and 2022, the statement added, referring to past Russian tactics of deploying satellites close to sensitive U.S. spy satellites.
        



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