The commander of the United States Space Force reportedly said that the Russian satellites have been exhibiting the 'unusual and disturbing behaviour' of following the US satellite in orbit. The US Space Command Commander and the Space Force's Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond on February 10 said that last November, the Russian government launched a satellite that subsequently released a second satellite and now they have been actively manoeuvring near a US government satellite.
Raymond further added that these satellites have been behaving similar to another set of satellites that Russia deployed back in 2017 and which the Russian government characterized as 'inspector satellites'. While speaking to an international media outlet, he also said that the situation has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space and that is why the US government has now expressed concern to Moscow through diplomatic channels. The confrontation further also marks the first time that the US military has publicly identified a direct threat to a specific American satellite by an adversary.
The growing concern about adversaries is also one of the reasons why the US launched the new military branch. The Trump administration also recently requested $18 billion for the Space Force and other space activities as part of Pentagon budget. According to reports, the observers are now worrying that space is now offering a new theatre for unintentional escalation of hostilities between the long-time adversaries.
The Russian Defence Ministry after releasing the second satellite back in December said that the purpose of the experiment is to continue work on assessing the technical condition of domestic satellites. However, Raymond reportedly said that Russia's actions place the country among nations that 'have turned space into a warfighting domain'. He also added that similar activities in any other domain would be interpreted as potentially threatening behaviour and the US finds the recent activities to be concerning.
Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act in December, which authorised a budget for the Space Force. Space Force stands as a separate branch alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. While talking to an international media outlet, the defence secretary, Mark Esper said that the nation's reliance on space-based capabilities has grown dramatically and by signing the package the outer space had evolved into a warfighting domain of its own. He further added that maintaining dominance in space would now be space force's mission.