While We Were All Looking At China, Russia Just Reignited The Space Race

Written by Wes Walker on April 17, 2020

If you thought Sputnik was a game-changer, wait until you see what the Russian Bear put into orbit THIS time!

Trump took a lot of heat — and mockery — for putting forward the idea of establishing a Space Force.

All the Starfleet Academy and Space Cadet jokes came out, right on cue. But his rationale for wanting it was pretty straightforward.

If we can project our presence in space, we can project our weapons platforms there, too. And just like that, the Final Frontier gets weaponized.

Only… it wasn’t the Americans who struck first.

While the Americans were busy sending NASA to monitor weather stations and make Muslims feel good about themselves during the last administration — while our actual space flight vehicles were officially turned into museum pieces with no replacement in sight, the Russians were busy.

Not only were they doing the heavy lifting by bringing American payloads (and astronauts) into orbit, but they were working on a nasty little project of their own, too.

Russia tested a missile on Wednesday that is capable of destroying satellites in low-earth orbit, U.S. Space Command said in a statement, as the Pentagon faced military challenges from Russia, China, and Iran over the course of a busy day. The move could be a significant challenge to U.S. efforts to invest in communications satellites and sensor layers to track missiles in-flight—as the Space Force did during Iran’s ballistic missile attack on Iraq’s Al Asad air base in January, which left more than 100 U.S. troops with traumatic brain injuries.

“This test is further proof of Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting their counter-space weapons programs,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, Space Command’s chief.

Growing challenge. The missile test is another example of Russian forces challenging the United States in outer space in recent months, as the Trump administration has sought to get the nascent U.S. Space Force off the ground. Time reported in February that two Russian satellites had begun shadowing a U.S. satellite in outer space, a move that Raymond said had the potential to “create a dangerous situation.”

Other rivals joining in. It won’t just be Russia keeping the nascent Space Force busy: The Secure World Foundation said in its annual report last month that China, Iran, and North Korea are also looking at counter-space technologies. —ForeignPolicy

This isn’t just a question of whether satellites — even spy satellites — would be being knocked out of the sky (to land God-alone-knows-where).

It’s a question about how many of our other systems are entirely reliant on our satellite positioning. Our communication arrays… our entire GPS navigation systems. What happens if THEY get knocked out?