Formally, Cosmos 2543’s goal is to watch the situation of different Russian spacecraft in orbit, and the nation’s authorities insist that’s all there’s to it. The Russian Protection ministry informed Interfax information company (by way of Wall Avenue Journal): “One of many domestically produced satellites was examined from an in depth distance by specialised gear of a small spacecraft throughout trials of state-of-the-art objects.” However Area Command mentioned it fired a projectile after shifting close to one other Russian satellite tv for pc, reportedly to check its functionality to assault one.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer for the Harvard-Smithsonian Heart for Astrophysics, mentioned an evaluation of publicly obtainable satellite tv for pc orbit information confirmed that Cosmos 2543 birthed one other object at a relative velocity of over 400 mph. That’s in keeping with a projectile being fired. It additionally carefully resembled Russia’s exercise again in February 2017, whereby it additionally used a satellite tv for pc to launch a projectile in house.
Whereas there’s no proof of any spacecraft being destroyed, US Area Command chief and US Area Pressure Chief of Area Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond condemned the exercise. He mentioned in a press release:
“The Russian satellite tv for pc system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons check is similar satellite tv for pc system that we raised issues about earlier this yr, when Russia maneuvered close to a US authorities satellite tv for pc. That is additional proof of Russia’s persevering with efforts to develop and check space-based methods, and in keeping with the Kremlin’s printed army doctrine to make use of weapons that maintain US and allied house property in danger.
America, in coordination with our allies, is prepared and dedicated to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our allies and important US pursuits from hostile acts in house.”
UK house directorate Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth additionally urged Russia to be accountable and to “keep away from any additional such testing.” He defined that “[a]ctions like this threaten the peaceable use of house and threat inflicting particles that might pose a risk to satellites and the house methods on which the world relies upon.”