U.S. was not blindsided by Russia’s anti-satellite test, say officials

12/05/2021 | Sandra Erwin - Space News | External Article

by  — 
Gen. David Thompson: 'These advances in capabilities are concerning, they are not a surprise'

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military for years has watched Russia’s attempts to demonstrate it could destroy a satellite with a ground-based weapon, so the Nov. 15 missile test that blew up a satellite in orbit did not come as a complete shock, officials said Dec. 4 at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

“These advances in capabilities are concerning, they are not a surprise,” Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of U.S. Space Force, said during a panel discussion at the forum held at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California. 

Russia’s missile intercepted one of its own defunct satellites, sending an estimated 1,500 pieces of debris into orbit that NASA said endangered the crew aboard the International Space Station.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said Russia attempted to do this several times in recent years and failed, so it was predictable that they would keep trying until they scored a hit. “It’s part of a pattern,” said Cooper, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces which oversees U.S. nuclear and space programs.

The U.S. government was not blindsided when the actual test occurred Nov. 15, said Cooper. “We have very good information, thank goodness, our telemetry is very good.”


Read more at: