NASA and European Space agency have recently tracked a mysterious Russian object in space, reviving fears of a defunct Kremlin project to destroy satellites, the Financial Times reported.
Object 2014-28E – classified as an effort to collect space debris by the Russian military – has ignited speculation as Russia did not declare its launch and the object is not merely debris but also to target other satellites.
"Whatever it is, [Object 2014-28E] looks experimental," Patricia Lewis, research director at the London-based think-tank Chatham House and an expert in space security was quoted as saying in the Financial Times report.
"It could have a number of functions, some civilian and some military. One possibility is that it is some kind of grabber bar. Another would be kinetic pellets which shoot out at another satellite. Or possibly there could be a satellite-to-satellite cyber attack or jamming," Lewis added.
The debris satellite killer was launched in May 2014 on a rocket that carried three other packages but the launch of the mysterious satellite was not declared by Moscow. The US military is now tracking the object under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
Russia has developed Istrebitel Sputnik, its first fighter satellite, in the early 1960s but the program was officially called off later.
In 2010, commander of Russia’s space forces Oleg Ostapenko, who is now head of its space agency, said Russia was again developing "strike" satellites, the report stated.