Pentagon says Russia has launched space weapon

By Tony Bertuca / May 21, 2024 at 4:09 PM

The Pentagon says Russia launched a counter-space weapon on May 16 into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite.

“Russia launched a satellite into low-earth orbit that we assess is likely a counter-space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low-earth orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said today during a press conference.

When pressed on whether the Russian system could take down a U.S. satellite, Ryder responded: “It's a counter-space weapon in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite.”

Russia, meanwhile, denies that it has put a weapon in space.

But Ryder said the weapon resembles previously deployed counter-space payloads the Pentagon reviewed in 2019 and 2022.

“Obviously, that's something that we'll continue to monitor,” he said. “We have a responsibility to be ready to protect and defend the space domain and ensure continuous and uninterrupted support to the joint combined force and we’ll continue to balance the need to protect our interests in space with our desire to preserve a stable and sustainable space environment.”