Russian satellites tracking US spy satellite, Space Force chief says

Katie Ramirez
February 13, 2020

The Space Force is part of the Air Force, but it specializes in space warfare. "This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a unsafe situation in space", General John Raymond, the Space Force chief of space operations, said in a statement shared with the media.

Raymond's response to the Russian satellite maneuvers was first reported February 10 by TIME Magazine.

The move is "unusual and disturbing", and the U.S. has inquired about it with Moscow, Raymond said, adding that it "has the potential to create a unsafe situation in space". "Creating a separate branch of the armed forces for space also risks militarizing US space policy and promoting ill-advised and risky projects that could involve deploying weapons in space", Hartung added. "The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation", he said.

"Last November, the Russian government launched a satellite that subsequently launched a second satellite".

U.S. military analysts first took note of the Russian mission when a spacecraft that was launched into orbit on November 26 - the Cosmos 2542 - unexpectedly split into two about two weeks later.

Russian media have said the newer Russian satellite in question is the Kosmos-2542. Russian Federation launched this satellite on 25 November 20-19, as shown by Space-Track.

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The Kosmos 2542 was noticed to be in the same orbit path as the U.S. 245. It was launched on November 26 and later released another satellite, the Kosmos 2543.

Russia's Foreign Ministry was working on its response to concerns voiced by the United States military earlier this week about the "disturbing" behavior of a pair of Russian spacecraft that flew near a USA government satellite. He said the Russian government had characterized those as "inspector satellites".

The Russian satellites' manoeuvring was spotted by Michael Thompson, a satellite and spacecraft enthusiast. Cosmos 2542 "probably only was close to US 245 for a few days at most before 245 made a maneuver to start to drift away". This was the first public comment by a US official on the Russian satellite reportedly chasing a USA spacecraft.

Yesterday (Feb. 10), Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, the Space Force chief of space operations, revealed to Time magazine that a pair of Russian satellites have come extremely close, within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the US spy satellite.

The Space Force, which was only established on December 20, 2019, will have approximately 16,000 personnel.

"The satellites exhibited characteristics of a weapon system when one of those satellites launched a high-speed projectile into space".

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