Just days after a near-miss of two American satellites in space high over Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, military leaders are warning of a new hazard: two russian satellites appear to be charing an American satellite in space, getting dangerously close to it. Space Force told TIME that the Russian spacecraft began tailing the USA satellite after its November launch, and has sometimes followed as closely behind as 100 miles.
Gen. John Raymond confirmed the reports, saying that the "unusual and disturbing behavior" could create a potentially unsafe situation in space.
'The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation'.
The Russian spacecraft launched in November as one satellite, which later released a second satellite from within it, nearly "birthing" it, US military analysts said.
To that end, Gen. John Raymond, the commander of Space Force, has accused Russian satellites of coming very close to a U.S. spy satellite, and showing "unusual and disturbing behavior". From the middle of January, Kosmos 2542 and Kosmos 2543 had transferred in orbit and were closing in about US 245.
"This is all circumstantial evidence, but there are a hell of a lot of circumstances that make it look like a known Russian inspection satellite is now inspecting a known U.S. spy satellite", Thompson tweeted on January 30.
"The way I picture it, in my mind, is like Russian nesting dolls", Raymond said, adding that analysts described how a second smaller satellite was "birthed" from the first. One of the satellites, dubbed Cosmos-2542, ejected a sub-satellite, Cosmos-2543.
This could potentially usher in a new era of "space war", where weaponized satellites in orbit attempt to gain ground on satellites from other nations. The confrontation further also marks the first time that the USA military has publicly identified a direct threat to a specific American satellite by an adversary.
CNBC also noted that the Russian spacecraft were as close as 300 kilometers from United States of America 245, in clear view of the US satellite.
"This is all circumstantial evidence, but there are a hell of a lot of circumstances that make it look like a known Russian inspection satellite is now inspecting a known US spy satellite". Cosmos 2542 "probably only was close to U.S. 245 for a few days at most before 245 made a maneuver to start to drift away".
The Space Force, which was only established on December 20, 2019, will have approximately 16,000 personnel.
"This budget focuses on NDS [national defense strategy] priorities of nuclear deterrence recapitalization and homeland missile defense, while refining our focus on the cyber and space warfighting domains and joint enablers for all operations in all domains: Air, land, sea, space and cyber", DOD officials wrote in the press release.