RUSSIA has restarted an initiative to build an anti-satellite laser that will mess up space-based imaging technology.
Google Earth and a long paper trail have led experts to conclude that Russia is developing the weapon to sabotage satellites attempting to monitor the nation.
Russia’s laser is called Kalina and its construction is under the supervision of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Google Earth imaging shows that the “space surveillance complex” in western Russia where Kalina is being built has new infrastructure added to the site.
Bart Hendrickx, a Belgium-based academic, published a paper in Space Review unpacking financial and government documents that trace Russia’s plan to develop an anti-satellite laser system.
Although there is no undeniable confirmation of Kalina’s existence, Hendrickx’s findings and observations from Google Earth give experts some confidence that the antisatellite laser is under development.
Russian plans to scramble foreign satellites date back to the early Cold War, BGR reports.
Plans for Kalina were printed in 2011, but Hendrickx notes that a 2002 paper sponsored by the Russian Defense Ministry touched on technologies related to anti-satellite lasers.
The main purpose of the project was explained in a 2014 bank document.
“Kalina’s goal was to create a system for ‘functional suppression’ of satellite electro-optical systems,” Hendrickx extracted from the paper trail.
Space is becoming an increasingly important part of modern conflict and international diplomacy.
“One possible future scenario is that lasers could be used to impose non-imaging areas,” said Dr. Matthew Mowthorpe in an online interview with The Sun.
Mowthorpe led the UK MoD’s space team for eight years – he is currently a satellite architect and engineer for Airbus Defense and Space.
“A threat nation could declare that imaging should not take place over a region and then enforce that through the use of ground-based lasers,” Mowthorpe said.
It is currently unclear how effective Kalina would be (or is) at disrupting space-based reconnaissance.
Russia and the United States have been uncomfortable collaborators and sworn enemies in space exploration.
NASA recently condemned Russian cosmonauts who posed for a propaganda photo aboard the International Space Station.
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5758387/google-earth-reveals-russia-building-secret-laser-weapon/ Google Earth ‘shows Russia is now building secret anti-satellite laser weapons’