News UK and US say Russia fired a satellite weapon in space.

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The UK and US have accused Russia of launching a weapon-like projectile from a satellite in space.

In a statement, the head of the UK's space directorate said: "We are concerned by the manner in which Russia tested one of its satellites by launching a projectile with the characteristics of a weapon."

The statement said actions like this "threaten the peaceful use of space".

The US has previously raised concerns about this Russian satellite.

In his statement, Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, head of the UK's space directorate, said: "Actions like this threaten the peaceful use of space and risk causing debris that could pose a threat to satellites and the space systems on which the world depends.

"We call on Russia to avoid any further such testing. We also urge Russia to continue to work constructively with the UK and other partners to encourage responsible behaviour in space."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53518238

Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, head of the UK's space directorate
Didn't know we had one!
 

Notebook

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Yes, the Royal Navy missed a trick there.

Given the RAF hostility to space things.
They didn't want BLUE STREAK(UK MRBM), no fun sitting in a silo when you can be flying V-Bombers at 50K feet, or 50' later.
The Army didn't want it, no use to them.
So the Navy got the UK Nuclear Deterrent(Polaris submarines) by default.

So we now have a Air Vice Marshall(Space).

Doesn't even look right.
 

Artlav

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So USA can create a Space Force while we have to sit back and play nice? I don't think so.

Seriously, from what i can read in Russian sources the thingy is described as "satellite inspector" and was apparently hunting a US spy satellite of some sort. Sounds like a lot more fun is going on than a mere weapons test.
 

Urwumpe

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So USA can create a Space Force while we have to sit back and play nice? I don't think so.


Its a Space Force with horses.



Sounds like its a US joke that you (and most of us abroad) don't understand.
 

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There's a bit of UK internal politics with this.

Boris Johnson government has sat on a Parliamentary report for 10 months about potential Russian interference in the UK Brexit referendum.

The report is critical of the Government, mostly because they didn't try to find out anything.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53494446

Have to take any Russian bashing from the UK with a pinch of salt while this domestic stuff is going on.

Re the picture at the front of the BBC article above, yes there were many cartoons of where President Putin had his hand...
 
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So USA can create a Space Force while we have to sit back and play nice? I don't think so.

Seriously, from what i can read in Russian sources the thingy is described as "satellite inspector" and was apparently hunting a US spy satellite of some sort. Sounds like a lot more fun is going on than a mere weapons test.

The lack of trust is the issue here. Russia and China are considered the main villains by most countries so there's always a lot of suspicion. I believe that every Russian space project was, at one point or another, seen as potentially dangerous. Nothing new here.

Hunting a spy satellite would be interesting indeed. I wonder what could prompt this satellite hunting, as all large powers maintain them and there's nothing to be done about them. It must be something new and much more advanced.
 
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MaxBuzz

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we launched space weapons into space long ago. on the space station "Almaz"
there was an anti-satellite machine gun.
we preferred the plan to hijack the spaceship with the help of Naval boarding and saber fight.


(playing soundtrack "Pirates of the Caribbean")
 

Urwumpe

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we launched space weapons into space long ago. on the space station "Almaz"
there was an anti-satellite machine gun.
we preferred the plan to hijack the spaceship with the help of Naval boarding and saber fight.


(playing soundtrack "Pirates of the Caribbean")


%27Captain_Harlock%27_screenshot_from_Galaxy_Express_999_the_movie.JPG
 

Fabri91

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So USA can create a Space Force while we have to sit back and play nice? I don't think so.

Seriously, from what i can read in Russian sources the thingy is described as "satellite inspector" and was apparently hunting a US spy satellite of some sort. Sounds like a lot more fun is going on than a mere weapons test.

Yes, the originating spacecraft appears to be some sort of "inspector", but the recently released "sub-spacecraft" does look more like a projectile:

Spaceflightnow Article said:
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks global space activity, said an analysis of publicly available satellite orbit data suggests that the Kosmos 2543 released the mysterious object July 15 at a relative velocity of more than 400 mph, or about 700 kilometers per hour.

“That’s a projectile being fired, not a satellite deployment,”
tweeted Brian Weeden, director of program planning and technical advisor for the Secure World Foundation. “That said, it’s also far from a conclusive weapons test. I’d put it in the worrisome category.”

Link to article with quote
 
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[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4C-ydEpN58"]What We Know About Russia's Secret New Anti Satellite System - YouTube[/ame]
 

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So USA can create a Space Force while we have to sit back and play nice? I don't think so.

Seriously, from what i can read in Russian sources the thingy is described as "satellite inspector" and was apparently hunting a US spy satellite of some sort. Sounds like a lot more fun is going on than a mere weapons test.

Welllll... To be a "satellite inspector" it needs sensors. And it obviously had good enough thrusters to pick up a, err... "militarily significant" amount of KE in a decently short time frame. If it has sensors, it knows where the satellite to be "inspected" is. So an "inspection" pass doubles as a shot across the bow.

The incident and subsequent diplomatic dialog can best be summed up by the sequence beginning around 0:50 in the following video:

 

Urwumpe

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I would rather use some lines from Hunt for Red October there, considering the huge relative velocity between the two spacecraft.

Captain Davenport: They're pinging away with their active sonar like they're looking for something, but nobody's listening.
Jack Ryan: What do you mean?
Captain Davenport: Well, they're moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter's stereo and not hear it.


Yeah, it was really a shot across the bow. Something you should usually do with your own satellite in case you don't like gambling with the CEP....
 

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Captain Davenport: Well, they're moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter's stereo and not hear it.

Doesn't really work, given that:

A) A guided munition in space is unlikely to lose sensor contact with its target due to firing its own thrusters.
B) While the speeds involved were fast enough to destroy the target by impact, they weren't really that fast on orbital scales.

Yeah, it was really a shot across the bow. Something you should usually do with your own satellite in case you don't like gambling with the CEP....

My impression is that the munition was fired with a short enough time of flight that trajectory uncertainty would have been minimal and the chances of an unintended hit remote.
 

Urwumpe

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Doesn't really work, given that:

A) A guided munition in space is unlikely to lose sensor contact with its target due to firing its own thrusters.
B) While the speeds involved were fast enough to destroy the target by impact, they weren't really that fast on orbital scales.


Well, you think too much about sensor contact there, while actually - what is the idea of an inspection? Checking that it exists? sure not, there you have other options, cheaper options.


The idea of a satellite inspection is following it nearby, getting high quality photographs of its configuration, ideally intercepting directed radio or laser communication. Even if the other satellite does evasive maneuvers to prevent this, like US spy satellites actually did in similar situations in the past.


Just passing by it with high relative velocity achieves no such goal. You are making a lot of noise, without listening to your target.


My impression is that the munition was fired with a short enough time of flight that trajectory uncertainty would have been minimal and the chances of an unintended hit remote.


If the initial firing solution was created by radar, the uncertainty can be pretty large - that is why all rendezvous takes place by onboard guidance. And the faster you are, the less chances you have to minimize errors, would a thruster fail in the wrong time, you have no way to ensure a hit or a miss.
 

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Well, you think too much about sensor contact there, while actually - what is the idea of an inspection? Checking that it exists? sure not, there you have other options, cheaper options.


The idea of a satellite inspection is following it nearby, getting high quality photographs of its configuration, ideally intercepting directed radio or laser communication. Even if the other satellite does evasive maneuvers to prevent this, like US spy satellites actually did in similar situations in the past.

This was a fairly close pass after an abrupt maneuver. I would expect the munition to have been able to get uncommonly good photographs of the target, though comms interception would obviously not have been feasible, though the mother satellite might still be in a position for that. Meanwhile, I would not expect the target to be able to evade meaningfully in the time available: it likely would not have the acceleration available to the munition.

If the initial firing solution was created by radar, the uncertainty can be pretty large - that is why all rendezvous takes place by onboard guidance. And the faster you are, the less chances you have to minimize errors, would a thruster fail in the wrong time, you have no way to ensure a hit or a miss.

Bearing would be fairly well determined, and my understanding is that relative velocity was fairly low when the munition was fired: in such a case, to miss, you just have to aim a few degrees off the target. And if the munition has multiple thrusters facing along the axis it's accelerating on, then a failure, if it didn't result in the other thrusters cutting out immediately as a failsafe, would result in the munition picking up a high rotational rates fairly quickly, which would tend to result in the burn mostly cancelling itself out.

But I expect that the thruster used for the burn was probably a single, decently sized solid fuel motor aligned along the axis of thrust.
 
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