This is the Russian satellite that the United States denounces as an orbital weapon

On May 16, 2024, at 11:21:39, peninsular time, crews of the Russian Air and Space Forces launched a Souyz-2.1b from the Plesetsk test platform, 800 km away. north of Moscow. The aircraft deployed a military satellite and six small civilian space probes at a height of 500 km above the Earth. The United States has denounced that it is a weapon.

The military satellite received the designation Cosmos-2576 and the international designation 2024-092A. It was registered by NORAD as object 59773. Cosmos-2576 is believed to be a reconnaissance satellite of the Razbeg/MKA-V type. The satellite is deployed in a sun-synchronous orbit… But,Why is there so much fuss around it?

Razbeg 1 is a small military optical reconnaissance satellite. It was built by the VNIIEM headquarters and is probably the same satellite identified in previous reports as Zvesda. Reportedly, the 250 kg satellite was inspired by American commercial Earth imaging satellites of the SkySat 1 series. It has a camera built by the Belarusian company OAO Peleng with a maximum terrestrial resolution of 0.9 meters.

Roscosmos has announced that the main military payload will be named KOSMOS 2576. Among the six identified objects, the satellite would be object A, which stands out as a solitary object in altitude and orbital inclination.

Also part of this launch, according to sources, are three Rassvet civil satellites that provide high speed internet connectivity; and (as Sputnix announced) two Zorkiy 2M civil Earth observation satellites and four SITRO-AIS civil satellites.

The first thing that stands out is that the orbital plane into which the main payload was launched, Cosmos 2576it might not be random: it closely resembles that of American spy satellite KH-11 ADVANCED CRYSTAL USA 314.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on May 20, 2024, Ambassador Robert Woood said that “the United States assesses (that the satellite) is likely a counterspace weapon… Russia deployed this new counterspace weapon in the same orbit as a US government satellite Cosmos-2576. follows previous Russian satellite launches, probably from counterspace systems to low Earth orbit in 2019 and 2022.” Space tracking images from satellites show that the orbit is a “chase” orbit, so to speak.

Map showing the Russian and the American satellite.SatTrackSatTrack

Obviously, Russia has not commented on these statements nor has it published the complete load of the satellites. Something that the United States does not do either. The risk? Let the treaty not to use weapons in space be broken.