Weaponization Of Space Will Have Unpredictable Consequences


Richard Moore


Weaponization Of Space Will Have Unpredictable Consequences

By Andrei Kislyakov
Political Commentator for RIA Novosti
Moscow (RIA) Apr 07, 2006

The United States has promised to make public in the next few months 
its new space doctrine, which allows for the deployment of weapons in 
outer space. Colonel Anthony Russo, chief of the U.S. Strategic 
Command's space and global strike division, said the time was ripe 
for clearly stipulating the Pentagon's responsibility for the 
security of the national space group.

Space-based laser and kinetic energy weapons will be used against 
those who create obstructions to U.S. satellites. Logically, this 
will lead to the creation of a space theater of war.

Much has been written and said about the inadmissibility of space 
weaponization. In early March, Russia's Ambassador to the UN office 
in Geneva Valery Loshchinin said again that the placement of weapons 
in space would "provoke a new round of the race for nuclear missile 
and other arms, both in space and on the Earth, which would boost the 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery 

Russia has reaffirmed that it would not become the first to orbit 
weapons of any type and called on all countries to follow its example.

But appeals are quickly muffled when weapons are cocked.

"Russia has the ability for an adequate response to the countries 
that orbit their weapons," Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov 
said during an official visit to China in late August 2005. "Both 
Americans and Russians are actively using space for military 
purposes. However, they have been observing certain limits so far, 
deploying only communications, targeting, intelligence and other 
[defense-related] spacecraft. These are not weapons. But the 
deployment of weapons in space will have unpredictable consequences."

You can imagine the consequences from another of the minister's 
quotes: "We are orbiting commercial spacecraft from 30 or 40 
countries, if I remember correctly," he said. "As to carrier rockets, 
they are quite another matter."

Russia annually orbits a great deal of other countries' payloads and 
it does not always know what exactly those are. Therefore, the 
Russian space industry may become an indirect hostage to an orbital 
conflict, which means the renewal of the race for all imaginary 
weapons, with a logical "adequate response".

Back in 1983, Yury Andropov, then General Secretary of the Soviet 
Communist Party Central Committee, publicly announced the termination 
of all space weapons programs in the Soviet Union. The country made 
that gesture of goodwill in the hope that the U.S. would abandon its 
Star Wars program.

 From the late 1950s to the early 1980s, the Soviet Union had attained 
considerable success in the creation of combat space systems. In 
1959, the OKB-52 specialized machine-building design bureau started 
creating an anti-satellite (ASAT) defense system. At the same time, 
the NII-4 research institute of the defense ministry started 
analyzing possible ways of fighting potential adversaries' satellites.

These efforts came to a head on June 18, 1982 when the Soviet General 
Staff held an exercise simulating a nuclear and space war that lasted 
more than seven hours. First, two UR-100 (SS-11 SEGO) 
intercontinental ballistic missiles were launched, closely followed 
by an intermediate-range mobile missile Pioner (a predecessor of 
Topol) and a ballistic missile launched from a nuclear-powered 
submarine in the White Sea.

After that, two anti-missiles were launched at the warheads and the 
interceptor satellite Kosmos-1379 was launched into a low, near-Earth 
orbit from the Baikonur spaceport. Several hours later, it passed in 
close proximity to the Kosmos-1375 satellite, which simulated the 
American navigation satellite Transit.

Despite the official prohibition of all tests of space interceptors 
on August 18, 1983, the Salyut design bureau was secretly creating a 
combat space station armed with laser and missile weapons called Skif.

In spring 2006, the concerned agencies of Russia and the Untied 
States started doing something real. In early March, Colonel General 
Vladimir Popovkin, Commander of the Russian Space Forces, toured 
strategic military facilities in California and Florida at the 
invitation of General James E. Cartwright, Commander of the United 
States Strategic Command.

A month later, General Cartwright visited the headquarters of the 
Russian Space Forces, the computer center of the space control 
system, the Space Mission Center, the Plesetsk spaceport and the 
Mozhaisky Aerospace Academy in St. Petersburg.

If the two countries continue acting in this spirit of openness and 
transparency, we should not fear, as there will be no alternative to 
peaceful space programs.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517
<http://space4peace.blogspot.com>http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

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