Russia Advances Nuclear-powered Antisatellite Weapon

Russia plans to place a nuclear-powered, satellite-killing weapon in orbit, according to media reports on February 14 based on anonymous United States intelligence sources.

  • Intelligence suggests the weapon would be launched into orbit and have the capacity to hinder or disable satellites of other nations.
  • Rather than a nuclear weapon, the device is believed to be nuclear-powered.
  • The plan follows threats by Russia to destroy U.S. satellites used to assist Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s war.

Disturbing history: In light of Russia’s recent history in space, analysts believe such threats should be taken seriously:

  • In 2017, Russia launched Kosmos 2523, a satellite that can be maneuvered by operatives on the ground to interact with other satellites.
  • In 2019, the nation launched Kosmos 2543, which has similar capabilities. Analysts warned that such satellites could be used against the satellites of other nations, nudging them off course, damaging or capturing them, or fastening spy equipment to them.
  • In 2020, Kosmos 2543 released a new object into orbit and used it to conduct a test of a space-based weapon.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in 2018 that his military had also built an operational ground-based laser system designed to destroy satellites.

Is it mad? Some think fear of “mutually assured destruction” would prevent Russia from attacking U.S. satellites since it has many satellites in orbit that the U.S. could target. But the reality is, America has far more satellites in orbit than any other nation and relies on them far more heavily.

  • Of the 7,096 satellites in space, 4,723 are American.
  • This is more than twice the number of the rest of the world combined.

Achilles’ heel: Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long called attention to the danger of the American military’s reliance on computer technologies that are susceptible to enemy attack.

America is the greatest superpower this world has ever known. But we have a very vulnerable point in our military—our own Achilles’ heel.
—Gerald Flurry, Trumpet, January 1995

Studying America’s vulnerability reminded Mr. Flurry of a prophecy recorded in Ezekiel 7. The first three verses show that God is addressing “the land of Israel,” which refers primarily to the U.S. and Britain today. This chapter discusses a future when God will punish these nations for rejecting Him. Verse 14 describes one aspect of that punishment: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.”

It seems everybody is expecting our people to go into battle, but the greatest tragedy imaginable occurs! Nobody goes to battle—even though the trumpet is blown! Will it be because of a computer terrorist?
—Gerald Flurry

Learn more: Read “Space: The Final Military Frontier.”