US Congress Alarmed by Russia’s Proposal for Orbital Nuclear Weapon Targeting Satellites


Russia is reportedly developing a space-based nuclear weapon that is designed to disable or destroy satellites, according to information shared with the United States Congress and America’s European allies. The nature of the weapon remains unclear, but it could involve detonating a nuclear explosive in space or other anti-satellite technology powered by a space-based nuclear reactor. Intelligence presented to Congress claims that the U.S. military does not currently have the ability to counter such a weapon and defend its satellites. However, U.S. government officials do not believe that the weapon will be launched anytime soon.

Orbital nuclear weapons are currently prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, yet it has recently been speculated that Russia may be considering withdrawing from the treaty to further militarize space. House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) has publicly requested President Biden to declassify all information related to this threat to allow for an open discussion about required response actions. Other members of Congress have downplayed the severity of the threat, suggesting that it should not be a cause for panic.

Speculation around the timing of this intelligence report suggests it could be related to Russia’s recent launch of a classified satellite known as Cosmos 2575. On the same day this information was released, the U.S. Space Force launched six satellites, designed to detect and track missile launches.

A space-based nuclear detonation could have detrimental immediate and long-term effects. Immediately, high-energy radiation pulses such as heat, x-rays, and other radiation types could damage nearby satellites and blind their sensors. In the long term, the



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