A mysterious Russian satellite is displayed “extremely abnormal behavior” has raised alarm in the united states, according to a State Department official.
“We don’t know what it is what it is and there is no way to verify this,” said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland, August 14.
She expressed fears that it was impossible to say if the object can be a weapon.
Russia has dismissed the comments as “baseless, slanderous accusations based on suspicious”.
The satellite in question was launched in October last year.
“[Satellite] behavior in orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from the orbit of the inspection or the space situational awareness capabilities, among other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Ms Poblete told the conference on disarmament in Switzerland.
“Russia’s intentions with respect to this satellite are not clear and are, obviously, a very worrying development,” he added, citing recent comments made by the commander of the space Forces of Russia, who said that the adoption of “new prototypes of weapons” was a key target for the force.
Ms Poblete said that the united states had “serious concerns” that Russia was the development of anti-satellite weapons.
Alexander Deynko, a senior Russian diplomat told the Reuters news agency that the comments were “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, assumptions and so on”.
He called on the united states to contribute to a Russian-Chinese treaty that aims to prevent an arms race in space.’Laser or microwave’
Space weapons can be designed to cause harm in more subtle ways than the traditional weapons, such as firearms, which could cause a large amount of debris in orbit, explained Alexandra Stickings, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.
“[These weapons may include] a laser or microwave frequency that could only stop [satellite] working for a period of time, disable it permanently without having to destroy or alter through jamming,” he said.
But it was difficult to know what technology is available because of so much information in the space based on the ability to classify, he added.
She also said that it would be very difficult to prove that any event causing the interference in the space was an intentional, overt act on the part of a particular nation-state.
Ms Poblete comments were particularly interesting in the light of President Donald Trump, the decision to start a sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces called Space Force, added Ms Stickings.
“The narrative coming from the US is, the space was very quiet, now look at what the Russians and the Chinese are doing’ – ignoring the fact that the united states have developed their own capabilities.”
The BBC has asked the united kingdom Ministry of Defence for comment.