The US On July 15th, Kosmos 2543 (a Russian satellite) launched an unidentified object into orbit, capable of tracking all other objects currently in orbit around the Earth. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the satellite was just going to perform an inspection, but the USA has reported the release of the new tracker.
The satellite in question, Kosmos 2543, was deployed by another satellite known as Kosmos 2542 near the end of last year. The two satellites were found to be following a US spy satellite, USA 245, raising eyebrows in the newly formed US Space Force, whose Chief of Space Operations, General John Raymond, claimed that the event, “has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space.”
As noted above, satellites often deploy smaller satellites. What makes this new event different, however, is that the object wasn’t just deployed, it was launched, in the sense that its speed was faster than even its parent satellite in orbit. This instance seems similar to another one in 2017, when Kosmos 2521 launched an object at a high speed, causing suspicions in the international space community.
Though the USA can’t prove these allegations, they have drawn a correlation between this test, earlier tests, as well as a recent April test of Russia’s ground-based anti-satellite missiles, Nudol. All signs seemingly point towards an increase in Russian military activity in space. The irony of this situation is this pattern of actions could also be interpreted as a response to the USA’s own increased military activity in space, including the previously mentioned establishment of a dedicated Space Force, causing the USA to be responsible for the very actions it’s protesting against, which wouldn’t be a first.