July 15 a Russian satellite called Kosmos 2543 launched a small unknown object at full speed in orbit. This object was launched near another Russian satellite, although they did not make contact, if it had, it could have caused serious damage. The US Department of Defense, which monitors activity in space, believes it is a weapon to destroy satellites.

Kosmos 2543 is an inspection satellite and was deployed by Kosmos 2542 in December of last year. As an inspection satellite, your job is to get closer to other satellites in orbit to inspect them and verify that everything is correct. In fact, Kosmos 2542 itself had an incident in January of this year when it approached a US satellite and started tracking it.

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An object thrown at an unusual speed

As they explain from Russia, Kosmos 2543 actually approached another satellite to perform an inspection. Of course they don’t comment the object in question that the US Space Command claims to have detected and that it was projected from Kosmos 2543 on the approach of the other satellite.

John Raymond, commandant du United States Space Command, considers that said projectile could be a weapon to hit other satellites. He believes this is further evidence of Russia’s efforts to develop and test space systems to keep the space resources of the United States and its allies at risk.

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In a way, launching objects into space from other satellites is common practice. In the same way he has to carry out inspections on other satellites. But according to the United States, what makes this latest Russian move unusual is the speed at which they launched the object. This is why they feel that it is a type of weapon because it differs too much from all the other inspections that have been done previously. That said, they also have no evidence beyond these assumptions.

Currently Russia, the United States and more than 100 nations are part of an international treaty by which they pledge that outer space will be explored by all and for purely peaceful purposes. The treaty was signed in 1967, after a few nuclear bombs exploded in space during that decade, making it look like daylight in the middle of the night. The treaty states, among other things, that weapons must not be placed in orbit or in space.

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As of today we depend more than ever on the satellites we have in orbit. They serve all types of communications, tracking, data collection and scientific exploration.

Source : Engadget