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Satnews Daily
May 27th, 2016

Russia Successfully Tests An Anti-Satellite Missile... For The Second Time

According to an article by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon, American defense officials said Russia conducted a successful flight test of a developmental anti-satellite missile on Wednesday that is capable of destroying satellites in orbit.

The test of the Nudol direct ascent anti-satellite missile originated at the Plesetsk test launch facility that is 500 miles north of Moscow.

Novosti reported in 2014, the weapon is “being developed within the scope of the Nudol OKR [experimental development project].” Nudol OKR was being developed by the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern. Russian state-run press reports have identified the mobile transporter-launcher for what is described as “a new Russian long-range missile defense and space defense intercept complex.” 

In 2015 Air Force Space Command commander Gen. John Hyten warned that both Russia and China are developing space warfare capabilities that threaten critical US satellites. The missile was monitored by US intelligence satellites and the test appeared to be successful, although additional details were unavailable, and it is not known if the Nudol missile was fired against a satellite or was test launched in a suborbital trajectory without hitting a target. In 2007 China conducted a test of a missile that destroyed a weather satellite, resulting in tens of thousands of pieces of dangerous orbiting debris.

It was the second successful test of the Nudol, following a November 18 launch, and shows Russia is advancing its anti-satellite weaponry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that Moscow is modernizing its entire strategic arsenal and developing new weapons such as anti-satellite missiles.

Air Force Lt. Gen. David J. Buck, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, told the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing in March that the Russians are developing space weapons, known as counter-space capabilities. "Russia views US dependency on space as an exploitable vulnerability, and they are taking deliberate actions to strengthen their counter-space capabilities.”

Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider said senior US military leaders have been warning about Russian anti-satellite threats for years and regard it as serious.