The last month collision of Russian and US satellites may have been intentionally manipulated by Washington, says a Russian ex-official.
Former head of Russia’s military space intelligence, major general Leonid Shershner told the daily Moskovski Komsomolez on Tuesday that the US Iridium 33 satellite involved in the collision was part of a US military research project launched in 2007.
The dual-purpose project — Orbital Express — mentioned by the former official aims to create a new technology that supports a broad range of future US national security and commercial space programs.
The project, Shershner said, was expected to allow the US to intercept and manipulate “hostile satellites” and destroy them from an earth-bound command center.
According to the general, the collision that occurred on Feb. 10 could have been easily avoided since the Iridium 33 was equipped with a navigation system able to detect any targets that move toward it, send information to earth and allow the ground center to change its orbit.
Unfortunately, such preventive measures did not occur, Shershner added.
The collision between the Iridium commercial satellite launched in 1997 and the 900-kilogram Russian satellite launched in 1993 sparked fears that the international space station and other spacecrafts may be threatened.
If remarks by the former Russian general are correct, new US technology may send the world into a new era in which feuding countries stage wars in space.