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US Deploys Reconnaissance Satellites in Response to Russian Space Weaponry Threat

The Pentagon's recent deployment of a cluster of satellites to monitor potential missile launches from russia and China comes amidst heightened tensions. This action followed reports of russia's development of weapons capable of such strikes.

April 11, 2024

These satellites, equipped with hypersonic and ballistic missile tracking sensors, mark the beginning of a broader initiative by the Pentagon. Over the next five years, they aim to populate low Earth orbit with hundreds of similar satellites. Nearly $14 billion from the Space Development Agency's budget will facilitate this endeavor, with major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman leading production efforts.

The strategic vision behind this initiative is resilience. Even in the face of attempts to disable US satellites, the system is designed to sustain functionality by redistributing tasks across the network. Notably, a prototype of this two-satellite network was launched on February 14 using a Space X rocket, with ongoing testing planned.

Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, emphasized a departure from the previous model of large, expensive satellites. Instead, the Pentagon is transitioning towards a more agile and cost-effective approach, aiming for frequent launches of low-cost satellites.

This move is not merely a precaution but a response to what Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, describes as a "serious national security threat". National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, affirmed that this threat is linked to russia's development of anti-satellite capabilities, prompting President Biden to initiate discussions with russia on space weapons.

On the other side, russia's activities in space have also attracted attention. The US has raised concerns about russia's purported development of anti-satellite weapons. Although details remain scarce, recent intelligence indicates russia's pursuit of space-based weaponry, sparking diplomatic engagement between the two nations.

This shift in focus towards space security reflects a growing recognition of the vulnerabilities faced by US satellite systems. As adversaries like russia and China advance their capabilities, the Pentagon is adapting by investing in resilient satellite networks and exploring defensive technologies like the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) to counter hypersonic threats.

Author: Nessa, Cyber Journalist

Source: https://mil.in.ua/en/news

Photo: Joe Skipper/Reuters

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