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Russia Denies Nuclear Space Weapon

via The Wall Street Journal
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

Russian President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu denied reports that Russia is developing a nuclear weapon for use in space.

Putin said, “Our position is clear and transparent: We have always been categorically against the deployment of nuclear weapons in space and we are still against it.

Their remarks came after US intelligence warned of such a “destabilizing” weapon. Experts warned detonating nuclear weapons in space could cripple satellites and severely damage space-based infrastructure for all countries.

The commander of Germany’s Military Space Command, Major General Michael Traut, said, “If somebody dares to explode a nuclear weapon in high atmosphere or even space, this would be more or less the end of the usability of that global commons [of orbit].”

“Nobody would survive an action like that — no satellite, either Chinese or Russian and American or European. If somebody calculates rationally, nobody would employ such a weapon in space,” he continued.

A 1962 US nuclear test in space destroyed about 1/3 of satellites at the time and showed long-term radiation impacts.

A military scientist wrote that hardening satellites against radiation is very costly.

He assessed countries may pursue such space nuclear weapons to disrupt US command/control or devastate its $200B/year space economy.

Lt. Col. “Tony” Vincent, an active duty scientist in the United States Air Force (USAF) wrote, “A nuclear explosion in space disproportionately hurts the United States as the largest single investor in space capabilities.”

“The United States nets almost $200 billion per year of real gross output from its space assets. Even though military satellites are designed to withstand a harsher charged particle environment, radiation hardening is not a magic cloak of invincibility. Military space assets will be degraded over time from the artificially amped radiation belt created from the nuclear detonation, meanwhile commercial satellites in low Earth orbit will be the first to fail from continually passing through these particle hot spots,” he continued.

Vincent explained, “Most satellites with a line of sight to the nuclear detonation will be destroyed from the resulting x-rays. Military space capabilities for command and control along with reconnaissance assets may still function for a period following the detonation, but the economic impact of degraded informational space products will be immediate/”

While military satellites have some radiation protection, all would degrade over time.

The scientist argued responding to such an attack with nuclear weapons on Earth risks further escalation and nuclear retaliation, so countries may view the threat as not fully credible for deterrence purposes.

However, nations sometimes choose self-harm to prevent others from gaining ground.

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