A pair of Russian satellites appear to be following an American satellite in an “unusual and disturbing” manner, the head of the United States’ newly formed Space Force has said.
Gen. John Raymond’s statement marks the Space Force’s first public confrontation leveled at an adversary in the increasingly competitive space domain, Time magazine reported Monday. His comments follow amateur space trackers’ contention two weeks ago that a top-secret Russian inspection satellite had maneuvered suspiciously close to a U.S. spy satellite.
The Russian satellites’ behavior “has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space,” Time quoted Raymond as saying.
The U.S. government has expressed concern to Russia via diplomatic channels, Raymond added.
He stressed that the Russian satellites’ maneuvers place the country in a list of nations that “have turned space into a warfighting domain,” CNN reported.
"Similar activities in any other domain would be interpreted as potentially threatening behavior," he was quoted as saying.
Russia launched the inspection satellite, the Kosmos-2542, into orbit in November. The Kosmos-2542 then released a sub-satellite the next month.
The name “Kosmos” is a uniform designation intended to conceal the nature of Soviet and Russian satellites from foreign eyes.
U.S. President Donald Trump established the Space Force, an independent military branch under the Air Force, in December. His administration’s $740.5 billion budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year asks the U.S. Congress to allocate $15.4 billion for the Space Force.