Russia developing nuclear arsenal for satellites

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Russia is developing a space-based nuclear capability that has the potential to threaten the U.S. and its allies, according to a source familiar with the matter. Russia’s capacity could allow it to target satellites, the official said.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters he plans to meet with House leaders on Thursday, though he did not confirm the topic of the briefing.

It is unclear what exactly the capability is that Russia is working on — importantly whether it is a nuclear-powered device or a nuclear weapon.

The U.S., Russia and China already have the capability to attack satellites, but the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 explicitly bans the use of nuclear weapons in space.

The treaty states instructs nations “not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.”

Experts questioned whether a nuclear weapon would be useful against a satellite. In the vacuum of space, a nuclear explosion wouldn’t create a destructive shock wave, like it does here on earth, says Brian Weeden, chief program officer with the Secure World Foundation and an expert on space weaponry.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!