Image: US Department of Defense
Blog Editor’s Note: This article talks about Russia’s activities at LEO and GEO.
Of course, even though GNSS are at MEO, this should still be a concern for the PNT community for several reasons.
Some nations have some PNT at GEO and/or LEO, and others are considering it, either with dedicated constellations, or as a part of other systems, such as OneWeb. China reportedly has PNT capability in all three orbit regimes, for example.
Also, you have to pass through MEO to get from LEO to GEO. Clearly Russia could easily cause mischief in MEO, if they wanted to. They probably are avoiding MEO so as to not interfere with GNSS, including their own GLONASS, and because the US has said that any interference with GPS in space will be considered an attack on the nation itself.
And, as we have noted before, countering GNSS with electronic warfare with assets like Russia’s reported space-based nuclear powered jammer, will be easier and more effective than attacking one or two of the satellites. So they already have what they need. And no need to test it.
Secure World Foundation Says Russia is Testing New LEO, GEO Anti-Satellite Technologies
By Jeffrey Hill | April 6, 2021
The Secure World Foundation released a report suggesting that Russia is testing new Anti-Satellite (ASAT) and Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite (DA-ASAT) technologies that could threaten spacecraft in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), and eventually, Geostationary Orbit (GEO).
In the April 2021 report, “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment,” co-authors Brian Weeden and Victoria Samson wrote that Russia is recapitalizing ASAT capabilities they had during the Cold War and testing Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) technologies in both LEO and GEO.
“…Some of those efforts have links to a Cold War-era LEO co-orbital ASAT program,” Weeden and Samson wrote. “Additional evidence suggests Russia may have started a new co-orbital ASAT program called Burevestnik, potentially supported by a surveillance and tracking program called Nivelir. … While Russia is actively testing what appears to be a new DA-ASAT capability in their Nudol system, it is not yet operational and does not appear to have the capability to threaten targets beyond LEO.”