The U.S. Space Command confirmed that Russia recently carried out a live demonstration of its anti-satellite missile system. According to the agency, the tests by Russia could threaten the space presence of the U.S. and its allies.
Russia’s anti-satellite weapon system is known as Nudol. According to a statement from the U.S. Space Command, Russia’s latest demonstration was carried out on April 15.
Nudol consists of a land-based mobile vehicle that’s capable of launching ballistic missiles. It was designed this way to allow Russia to fire its missiles from different locations. On Wednesday, the country fired one of its missiles into space.
The ballistics test was tracked by the U.S. Space Command. Although the missile reached space, it is not yet clear if it was able to hit its target or if it hit anything at all.
General John W. Raymond, the commander of the U.S. Space Command, condemned Russia’s move and referred to it as a hostile act. He noted that the U.S. is ready to act in defense of the country and its allies against human-made threats from space.
“Russia’s [anti-satellite] test provides yet another example that the threats to the U.S. and allied space systems are real, serious, and growing,” Raymond said in a statement. “The United States is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our allies and U.S. interests from hostile acts in space.”
Russia has been testing its Nudol system since 2014. The last time it fired off a missile into space was in November of 2019. Although the country has already carried out multiple anti-satellite tests, it has not yet hit a moving target orbiting Earth, according to The Verge.
Michael Thompson of the Purdue University, who specializes in astrodynamics and satellites, said that Russia might have been targeting a defunct spacecraft launched by its own agency known as Cosmos 1356. It was a likely target based on the trajectory of the Nudol missile.
However, according to satellite data, Cosmos 1356 is still intact. The U.S. Space Command also noted that it is currently not tracking any debris along the trajectory of the missile.
Source: (Monzon, s.f.)