A report from the U.S. Space Force command says that two Russian satellites are tailing an advanced U.S. spy satellite above the Earth, sometimes coming within 100 miles of the billion-dollar spacecraft.

Gen John Raymond, the chief of space operations for America’s newly-minted Space Force, said the two Russian satellites began pursuing the multi-billion dollar US satellite in November and have at times flown within 100 miles it.

‘This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space,’ Raymond said in a statement to Business Insider.

‘The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation.’

The US has raised concerns about the matter to Moscow through diplomatic channels, Raymond told Time magazine, which first reported the stalking on Monday.

The report comes months after the Russians launched mysterious “nesting doll” satellites.

Russia reportedly launched a satellite into orbit last November and– while in orbit– it split into two separate satellites. One expert compared it to a “Russian nesting doll.”

The Kremlin has insisted that the satellites are simply conducting experiments. An amateur satellite tracker used public data to theorize that the Russian satellites are “cleverly designed” to monitor the U.S. satellite during otherwise challenging visual moments in orbit: like sunrises.

“It’s clear that Russia is developing on-orbit capabilities that seek to exploit our reliance on space-based systems that fuel our American way of life,” Raymond told Time.

As the U.S. Space Force takes shape, top branch officials are asking for ideas on what to call its members, ranks, and operational units.

According to a statement from Space Force spokesperson Maj. William Russell, Air Force CAC card holders with access to Air Force Portal can submit their ideas online through the IdeaScale Website.

Space Force officials will also reach out to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps space communities for their input too, the statement said.

The deadline for submitting ideas is Feb. 24, after which a panel of Space Force officials will review feedback and announce a final decision “at a future date to be determined,” the statement said.

And, no . . . Space Cadet will not be an option.

Also, Congress has approved $148 million for the Consolidated Space Operations Facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

A portion of the funds were appropriated in last year’s budget to pay for the design and some construction work. The $88 million requested in 2021 — as part of the Air Force $767 million military construction budget — would allow the Air Force to complete the facility by March 2022, according to budget documents.

“The CSOF is a next-generation facility,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said Feb. 11 at the National Press Club during a conference hosted by the Space Foundation.

He said the facility is a top priority of the Joint Task Force Space Defense, a new organization that is part of U.S. Space Command. The JTF-SD, along with the U.S. intelligence community, operates the classified National Space Defense Center, where operators and analysts monitoring potential threats in outer space and draw up options to defend satellites if they come under attack.

Based on the Russian interference in space, the move seems very logical, indeed.

 

 
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