The April-test creased a spectacular trace of the missile that could be seen in the skies above the Komi Republic. Photo courtesy of Komiinform.ru

Anti-satellite missile tested from Plesetsk for the second time in 2020

The United States accuses Russia of weaponizing space.
December 17, 2020

A top-secret missile launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region earlier this week was a weapon capable of destroying satellites in low orbit.

Indications of a launch from Plesetsk came as NOTAM warnings were issued for three areas in the Russian Arctic in a straight line north from the cosmodrome. The areas were coincident with the fall-down of different stages of a space missile; east of Cape Kanin, over Novaya Zemlya and the last over Severnaya Zemlya.

Pentagon considers the missile test as a rapidly advancing threats to its own space systems.

“Russia publicly claims  it is working to prevent the transformation of outer space into a battlefield, yet at the same time Moscow continues to weaponize space by developing and fielding on-orbit and ground-based capabilities that seek to exploit U.S. reliance on space-based systems,” says commander of the U.S. Space Command, Army General James Dickinson.

According to the Space Command, Russia is developing several types of anti-satellite weapons. This week’s test is a missile launched from earth that can directly hit an enemy satellite and take it out. A second weapon under development is an on-orbit kinetic weapon. Based in space, such weapons could take out targets from orbit, in orbit. The U.S. Space Command also points to the on-ground combat laser systems currently under development by the Russian Space Forces.

“Russia has made space a warfighting domain by testing space-based and ground-based weapons intended to target and destroy satelites, according to the statement by General Dickinson.

According to him, Russia demonstrated its on-orbit kinetic weapon system in 2017 and again in 2020. No details were attached to the statement.

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In April this year, the Barents Observer reported about this year’s first anti-satellite missile test from Plesetsk. That missile made a spectacular trace above two remote villages in the Komi Republic, north of the cosmodrome in northern Russia.

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