The UK and US have accused Russia of launching a weapon-like projectile from a satellite in space. In a statement, the head of the UK’s space directorate said: “We are concerned by the manner in which Russia tested one of its satellites by launching a projectile with the characteristics of a weapon.” The statement said actions like this “threaten the peaceful use of space”. The US has previously raised concerns about this Russian satellite.
In his statement, Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, head of the UK’s space directorate, said: “Actions like this threaten the peaceful use of space and risk causing debris that could pose a threat to satellites and the space systems on which the world depends. “We call on Russia to avoid any further such testing. We also urge Russia to continue to work constructively with the UK and other partners to encourage responsible behaviour in space.”
It is the first time the UK has made accusations about Russian test-firing in space, the BBC’s defence correspondent Jonathan Beale says, and comes just days after an inquiry said the UK government “badly underestimated” the threat posed by Russia. The incident will heighten concerns of a new arms race in space, he added, saying other nations are also investigating technologies that could be used as weapons in space.