Pentagon Reports: Russia Likely Deployed Counter-Space Weapon into Low Earth Orbit

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Last week, the Pentagon revealed that Russia has apparently deployed a weapon in low Earth orbit, which happens to be in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite. Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed this development on Tuesday, following the information shared by Robert Wood, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Ryder suggests that the satellite launched by Russia on May 16 may have the ability to target other satellites in low Earth orbit, potentially serving as a counter-space weapon. This deployment is consistent with the patterns seen in previous deployments of counter-space payloads in 2019 and 2022.

Ryder stressed the Pentagon’s dedication to closely monitoring the situation, emphasising the importance of safeguarding and defending the space domain to ensure ongoing support for joint and combined forces. However, he did not clearly mention if the Russian weapon poses a direct danger to the U.S. satellite.

Ryder avoided addressing whether the U.S. had prior knowledge of the specific counter-space weapon included in the Russian launch when discussing advance notifications for space launches.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov dismissed the Pentagon’s statements as a “information leak.” He confidently stated that the Russian space programme is on track, with the successful launch of spacecraft aimed at bolstering defence capabilities. Ryabkov made these comments during a press briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.

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