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In February 2022, Russia launched a nuclear satellite into space

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May16,2024

In February 2022, Russia launched a nuclear satellite into space

In February 2022, Russia launched a satellite into space designed to test components of a potential anti-satellite weapon that could carry a nuclear device, The Wall Street Journal reports with reference to American officials.

Interlocutors of the publication note that the launched satellite does not carry nuclear weapons, but its launch is connected with the ongoing Russian nuclear anti-satellite program, which in recent months has caused increasing concern in the administration of US President Joe Biden, Congress and experts outside the government, because these weapons, in if deployed, will give Moscow the opportunity to destroy hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit.

The satellite in question, known as Cosmos-2553, was launched on February 5, 2022 and is still traveling around Earth in an unusual orbit. According to other officials, it secretly functions as a platform for research and development of non-nuclear components of a new weapons system that Russia has not yet deployed.

Russia claims that the spacecraft is intended for scientific research, but U.S. officials find the claim implausible.

According to U.S. officials, while the U.S. has known of Russia's interest in building a nuclear anti-satellite capability for years, it was only recently that they were able to better determine progress in the program.

They note that such weapons, if and when deployed in orbit, could destroy satellites in the part of space dominated by US government and commercial facilities, including SpaceX's Starlink constellation, which turned out to be critical for Ukraine's military efforts.

One of the interlocutors of the WSJ said that he called the launched satellite a "prototype" weapons, while others argue that the Russian program has not progressed that far.

It is noted that a Russian rocket launched Kosmos-2553 into orbit 19 days before Russian dictator Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The spacecraft was "equipped with newly developed on-board instruments and systems for testing them under conditions of exposure to radiation and heavy charged particles", the Russian Ministry of Defense said at the time.

At the same time, US Assistant Secretary of State Mallory Stewart, in a public speech at the beginning of this month, questioned this explanation, without naming a specific satellite. by no other spacecraft, which is somewhat unusual in its own right and orbit — it is a region with higher levels of radiation than in normal Earth orbits, but not high enough to allow accelerated electronics testing, as it is described by Russia», — she said.

Stewart also said that the US has been aware that Russia has been seeking to build such a capability for years, but only recently has a more accurate assessment of their progress been made.

According to professional satellite trackers, Kosmos-2553 is still in orbit. Representatives of the intelligence community and the US National Security Council refused to discuss the satellite or its connection to Moscow's anti-satellite program.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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