How Russia can deal with the enemy's space reconnaissance systems

The special military operation in Ukraine exposed many problems in the Russian military-industrial complex. The rocket and space industry, which previously we all considered one of the most advanced in the world, was no exception. But in practice it turned out that the West can monitor every square meter of our territory from space, but we can’t, that we don’t have the means to shoot down or somehow fight enemy space reconnaissance, and that even the development and launch of new spacecraft without foreign components for Russia is a big problem.

Meanwhile, our main adversary in the face of the United States is actively implementing a new stage of the lunar program, launching modern spacecraft and filling near-Earth space with dozens of new spy satellites. And even China, which until recently stood in line for Russian space technology, has now bypassed our country a few steps forward. Therefore, if Russia still wants to claim the status of at least a regional space power, then it is necessary not only to discuss these problems, but also to start implementing a serious set of measures to revive domestic space exploration.

Can we "click" enemy satellites?

The first months of the NMD showed that the weak point of our army is insufficiently high-quality intelligence work. There are several reasons for this, and one of them lies in the qualitative and quantitative superiority of the enemy (represented by NATO) in space reconnaissance means. Over the past 30 years, the United States alone has launched hundreds of different spy satellites into low Earth orbit. And if we add here the EU countries and private space corporations, then we get a multiple superiority over our country. Elon Musk alone, with his SpaceX, put into orbit more than 3000 thousand satellites, which, as it turned out, are capable of performing a very wide range of functions, including military ones.

Our country also has a considerable constellation of satellites in orbit. But unlike the collective West, their number is measured not in thousands or hundreds, but in tens. And if we take into account that the electronic filling of Russian satellites often lags behind American counterparts, then one can easily understand why space reconnaissance is given to our army with such difficulty.

In this regard, the key issue that is now on the agenda is not so much the replenishment of one's own orbital constellation of satellites as the neutralization of the enemy. This need has already been repeatedly voiced at various levels, including by representatives of the Foreign Ministry. In particular, at the end of November, the director of the department for nonproliferation and arms control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Vladimir Ermakov, said that our country has every right to shoot down foreign reconnaissance satellites:

The “quasi-civilian” satellites manufactured by Western countries used by Ukrainian forces in operations could become a legitimate target for Russian forces.

But how exactly can our VKS work on enemy satellites? The Ministry of Defense has repeatedly spoken about testing the A-235 Nudol anti-missile system, which is capable of fighting not only air, but also space targets at an altitude of up to 700 km. It was this rocket that successfully shot down the failed Kosmos-2021 satellite in November 1408. Then Russia unequivocally showed the whole world that it can and is ready to shoot down enemy spy satellites, if necessary. However, during the SVO, only training firing was carried out from this complex, within the framework of which some “conditional” targets were hit.

Our country also has the latest S-500 and S-550 missile defense systems. Judging by the performance characteristics of these complexes, they are capable of hitting targets at an altitude of up to 500 km, which means that it is theoretically possible to use them to combat enemy satellites. But the S-550, like Nudol, is primarily an air defense system not intended for systematic use against space targets. Therefore, in case of urgent need, these air defense systems can be used a couple of times, but as for their regular use, there are many nuances.

One of them is that the use of Russian missiles to destroy foreign satellites will immediately lead to a new round of escalation. Not to mention the fact that after the mass destruction of foreign satellites, near-Earth space will be polluted with debris for tens, if not hundreds of years. Therefore, in the arsenal of our defense industry should be not only means of destruction, but also the neutralization of enemy spacecraft, without their physical destruction.

As such, the Peresvet laser complex was repeatedly mentioned, which, according to the head of Roskosmos, Yuri Borisov, is capable of blinding reconnaissance satellites at an altitude of up to 1,5 thousand km. Many of us were sure that the appearance of mysterious light pillars in October 2022 was the result of the combat use of this laser complex. But most likely, it was still caused by an atmospheric phenomenon, because the enemy reconnaissance satellites both flew and continue to fly over our country absolutely freely.

This year, we have witnessed another change in the director of the state corporation Roscosmos. The notorious Dmitry Rogozin was replaced by the ambitious and technically savvy Yuri Borisov. For many years he has been involved in the technical development of the defense complex, so there is no doubt that this person is well acquainted with the problems of domestic cosmonautics. It is possible that he was appointed to a new position precisely so that our country could make a breakthrough in the development of military and reconnaissance astronautics. According to Borisov, by 2026 Russia should start producing at least 200 satellites a year. It remains to be hoped that these words will not remain promises, because Yuri Ivanovich has to solve a really difficult task.
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  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 5 January 2023 09: 06
    About nothing.
    Space programs failed, no one answered for empty boasting, waste of money and "pocket optimization".
    It is impossible and there is nothing to shoot at thousands of foreign civilian commercial satellites. His companions are few and inferior.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. oao Offline oao
      oao (Chizhov Kirill) 6 January 2023 17: 13
      There will be nothing.
  2. Snail N9 Offline Snail N9
    Snail N9 (Snail) 5 January 2023 09: 07
    How Russia can deal with the enemy's space reconnaissance systems

    Answer: "No way." yes The Americans immediately warned: "any attack on their satellites, as well as on the satellites of their NATO allies, will be an" act of war "and the answer will follow immediately." groupings. But alas and ah, instead we launched satellites of our enemies with our rockets, motivating this by saying that this is how we "earn" money. "Were making money" .... feel
    1. Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 5 January 2023 12: 25
      Answer: "No way." The Americans immediately warned: "any attack on their satellites, as well as on the satellites of their NATO allies, will be an" act of war "and the answer will follow immediately.

      And what will this “immediate response” be? A nuclear attack on Russia or lowering the “price ceiling” on Russian oil by a whole dollar?
      1. Vox_Populi Offline Vox_Populi
        Vox_Populi (vox populi) 5 January 2023 14: 06
        There will be a disabling of all our satellites (paragraph 1) and the most severe economic and political sanctions possible (paragraph 2) ...
        1. sgrabik Offline sgrabik
          sgrabik (Sergei) 5 January 2023 17: 00
          In response, we can also quickly disable all the main military satellites of NATO, since we all know them and constantly monitor them, but we should not be afraid of even tougher sanctions, they have already been introduced and it is hardly possible to think of something else more rigid.
        2. Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 5 January 2023 17: 49
          Nonsense. According to paragraph 1, the Americans definitely do not need a war to destroy satellites, since they depend on them much more than we do paragraph 2, the Americans have long introduced all possible sanctions
    2. Nelton Offline Nelton
      Nelton (Oleg) 5 January 2023 18: 27
      Quote: Snail N9
      instead we launched satellites of our enemies with our rockets

      Well, they wouldn’t launch, so what?
      The price of a rocket to put into orbit is 1/4 of the price of a satellite.
      In the price of a satellite - let's say the assembly is only 3% of its cost.
      The most expensive is the element base of the payload.
      And here it’s more likely for the Americans to wring their hands, that at a certain period they gave Russia a good time to buy these components for the future, and Thales Alenia Space built its own component plant near Krasnoyarsk ...
      1. SP-Ang Offline SP-Ang
        SP-Ang (Sergei) 9 January 2023 10: 04
        Thales Alenia Space suspended work on a project in Russia

        As usual, screwdriver technology. No components, no work. The result of the president's rule is a banana republic.
        1. Nelton Offline Nelton
          Nelton (Oleg) 9 January 2023 10: 42
          Quote from SP-Ang
          Thales Alenia Space suspended work on a project in Russia

          But the plant near Krasnoyarsk remained.
          Reshetnevtsy signed a contract

          for the creation of the Express-AMU4 spacecraft. It will become the first satellite in the orbital fleet of the national operator GP KS, created exclusively from domestic components

          - in the previous "express" transponders were just from a joint venture, but were counted as imported.
          After the partners officially left, apparently, these same components began to be counted as domestic ones.
          How long they will be able to produce without partners - we will observe.

          For example, at the AngoSat-2 production stage, the partners refused to supply waveguides.

          57 closing waveguides of the deployable multi-beam Ku band antenna and deployable C-band antenna were not delivered.
          In this situation, the enterprise had the only possible way out - to design and manufacture waveguides on its own, based on the previously developed technical reserve.

          The satellite has been launched and is operating as intended.
    3. usm5 Offline usm5
      usm5 (George) 7 January 2023 12: 16
      We must fundamentally stop being afraid of US threats, since they have much more to lose in the event of a full-scale conflict. In addition, their military superiority in conventional weapons is technologically based on a satellite constellation. Therefore, the first task is still the elimination of espionage and targeting systems over our territory and we should not be so shamefully afraid of death, it will still come for us sooner or later.
  3. Sam Rimer Offline Sam Rimer
    Sam Rimer (Sam Rimer) 5 January 2023 10: 39
    The backlog began in the mid-60s. N. Kamanin wrote about this well in "Hidden Space". He is the first Hero of the Soviet Union and the first early. and leader of the cosmonaut corps. And today's 99 percent. they don't even know about it. By the way, he truthfully wrote there about Gagarin and Titov too.
  4. nikanikolich Offline nikanikolich
    nikanikolich (nikola) 5 January 2023 11: 20
    But won't electronic warfare, microwave technologies help in space? It’s easier to reproduce it there, there are no obstacles, do what you want and they won’t know where, what and when.
    1. sgrabik Offline sgrabik
      sgrabik (Sergei) 5 January 2023 11: 33
      Quote from nikanikolich
      But won't electronic warfare, microwave technologies help in space? It’s easier to reproduce it there, there are no obstacles, do what you want and they won’t know where, what and when.

      Laser weapons also do not need to be discounted, they need to be actively developed and improved, since they are also no less effective against space targets.
  5. calligrapher Lev_Nikolaevich (Dmitriy) 5 January 2023 12: 30
    If we talk about laser blinding of satellites, then it seems that they cannot be reached from the ground.
    The dense layers of the atmosphere interfere, and the need for long-term and accurate fixation of the laser beam on the target. For low orbit satellites, this means a large tracking angular velocity, and for geostationary satellites, this means too much distance to them.
    The way out of this situation can be. impact from the spacecraft, capable of changing the parameters of the orbit, but then he himself becomes a legitimate target, and the reason for a new round of space militarization. To date, this round can be. not in our favor.
    The solution might be in an intermediate version - the rocket starts from the ground, approaches the minimum distance to the space target, and turns on the electronic warfare equipment, limiting the radius of its impact precisely by being close to the target, and maybe. and beam direction.
    If, in this case, the trajectory and speed of the rocket will coincide with the direction of the flight of the target, then the duration of the laser exposure can be significantly increased.
    1. Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 5 January 2023 13: 48
      As for the rocket with a beam, I didn’t understand, to be honest. After all, a rocket is just a carrier, capable of doing nothing else. On the other hand, the laser system can be placed on a high-altitude aircraft. The Americans experimented with a stratospheric Boeing with a laser on board. But such an aircraft will have to fly in close proximity to Ukrainian territory and its air defense
      1. calligrapher Lev_Nikolaevich (Dmitriy) 5 January 2023 14: 03
        a rocket is just a carrier

        - and it can carry not only a high-explosive fragmentation warhead, but also means for a strong EM pulse, and the same laser, the power of which might be. well below the ground level.
        The difficulty is only in the orientation system of this laser during the flight on the space part of the trajectory. On the one hand, a satellite target is complex due to speed and altitude, but on the other hand, it is vulnerable due to the complete predictability of flight - you can accurately calculate the launch parameters of an anti-satellite missile.
    2. DO Offline DO
      DO (Dmitriy) 14 January 2023 01: 19
      calligrapher Lev_Nikolaevich,
      yes, a spacecraft armed with powerful lasers is most likely the only real way to disable a couple of thousand starlink communication satellites with an average orbital height of about 600 km (plus or minus 100 kilometers).
      It may not be advisable to launch a "laser gun" into orbit around the Earth. For with the inevitable flight over the territory of NATO, the probability of being shot down by this apparatus is many times greater than over the territory of Russia. That is, launched-worked-landed. Perhaps the "laser gun" can be used repeatedly.
      For short-term work, perhaps a chemical or, less desirable, isotopic source of energy will suffice. For the onboard nuclear reactor has large dimensions and weight, is expensive and not very resistant to harsh operating conditions.
      In the meantime, such a fighter of mass satellites is being created, it is possible to shoot down not so numerous enemy reconnaissance satellites with missiles launched from a supersonic interceptor at the highest point of the "hill" maneuver.
  6. kr33sania_2 Offline kr33sania_2
    kr33sania_2 (Alex Kraus) 5 January 2023 13: 20
    With the current total backlog, it is probably better to prepare a nuclear commensurate explosion at the right point in the orbit in order to equalize the chances. Maybe even several at the same time. And until we catch up, stick to this option.
  7. Alternatives Offline Alternatives
    Alternatives (Alexander) 5 January 2023 13: 47
    No way. Russia has only nuclear weapons left, and even then I'm not sure of their serviceability. For 23 years, Putin has been earning money, so he was earning extra money, right now he is sitting in a bunker and does not stick his head out.

    As a Russian, I DO NOT understand what was going on in his head all his life, because it is clear to a fool that the West wants the collapse of Russia. And in my opinion, it was necessary not to earn money, but to strengthen military power and improve the element base.
    1. Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 5 January 2023 17: 56
      what has been going on in his head all his life, because it is clear to a fool that the West wants the collapse of Russia.

      He sincerely believed in Europe to Vladivostok (his words) and in the fact that Ukraine is a brotherly country.
      1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 5 January 2023 18: 59
        It's not like nothing has been done. The projects were wide for the development of production
        high-tech products, Rosnano was created and large funds were allocated. The head of "Rosnano" A. Chubais, speaking, noted that there is a lot of money, a lot, but most of it was stolen under the leadership of A. Chubais. (The Investigative Committee initiated many criminal cases on theft at Rosnano, but only they were closed by decree). The whole Rusnano program "turned into one big scam, and the culprit safely left for Israel, which does not extradite criminals. When all the attention is on theft, then there is minimal attention on production. We have this with Roskosmos, theft is exorbitant, and so are the results. Change the rotten head, then everything will come to life.
        1. Nelton Offline Nelton
          Nelton (Oleg) 5 January 2023 19: 54
          Quote: Vladimir Tuzakov
          theft is exorbitant, and so are the results.

          Which ones?
          A record-breaking series of 98 launches?

          The construction of the East, which, by its very existence, greatly knocked down the desire to twist the hands of the Kazakhs?

          In a few years since 2014, they were able to replace all Ukrainian components - which is also not so trivial.

          The case with Angara is also moving forward.

          The production of satellites is a separate issue, and the same satellite constellation is developing.

          Satellite manufacturers are also developing.

          Yes, the Russian Federation cannot afford to have a satellite constellation comparable to what the "collective west" has.
          Neither in quantity nor in quality.

          Yes, Mr. Rogozin, with his statements in the media aspect, completely leveled all those real successes that were (quite commensurate with the existing base).

          But it is necessary to evaluate the results precisely in the general technological and economic context, and not according to the chatter of Rogozin and others like him.
  8. rotkiv04 Offline rotkiv04
    rotkiv04 (Victor) 5 January 2023 17: 27
    why does the Kremlin need all this, Putin sold gas and oil all his indentured term and only verbally talked about the development of space, the rearmament of the army by 70% and other crap, and now thanks to the war everything has come out, but he continues to hang noodles about "we we haven’t started yet” and “we click like nuts”, until these balabols from the Kremlin are driven, nothing will change, the only question is who will drive, the entire political field has also been cleared of competitors
  9. ksa Offline ksa
    ksa 5 January 2023 21: 26
    If we are significantly behind in terms of satellites, we need to destroy ALL satellites.
    1. DO Offline DO
      DO (Dmitriy) 14 January 2023 00: 28
      If we talk about the starlink, then you really have to destroy most of these satellites. For the trajectory of low-flying satellites relative to the earth's surface is such that almost all of them periodically appear over the territory of Russia.
  10. usm5 Offline usm5
    usm5 (George) 5 January 2023 22: 39
    One of my acquaintances once told me: “Yes, we all lived in a colony, but we lived not badly. We could still live. Otherwise we got involved in a war and pretend that we are not at war.” . Indeed, if you have already got involved in the struggle for your sovereignty, then you need to fight, and not portray. A war in space, in my opinion, is the only thing that can solve the problem of a more just world order without colossal human losses. To do this, you need to declare sovereignty over outer space over the territory of your country. Naturally, they do not recognize it, and then the violators will have to be shot down without unnecessary noise and any exotic in the form of clogging up outer space. That's when they in the West will have a keen desire to negotiate, and our guys in Ukraine will stop dying from a super-precise defeat. How to do this? Easier than you think. Russia has powerful compact nuclear reactors, which should be equipped with fighter satellites. These space fighters would be armed with thrusters for long-range orbital maneuvers and electromagnetic guns, with ballistic calculators that fired metal balls. The hit of such a ball into an enemy satellite should not only disable it, but also give it an impulse for a gradual de-orbit with subsequent combustion in the planet's atmosphere. How many such fighters are needed to clear the near space over Russia? Not as much as you think. And your station in near-Earth orbit should be planned as a base for servicing and recharging your satellite constellation. All cheap satellites that the enemy launches by the thousands do not have defense systems for sure, and everything that will be able to defend (evade) such weapons will certainly not be cheap. Someone reading will say: "Yes, this is war!". I answer: "War is good, let them try to make war without satellites." If you decide to go to war without a satellite constellation, then it is unlikely that they will win it. Most likely they will try to do the same in response, but it will not be so easy, since we will already have a constellation of fighter satellites. By the way, I have a feeling that the enemy began such actions and placed such a weapon on his X-37 shuttle drone. We are already seeing the results of our military satellites stop working for no reason and go out of orbit, and suddenly a "micrometeorite" arrives in our cargo ship from nowhere - go and prove malicious intent. In a word, we have every chance of losing the war in space and becoming a colony only at a worse level, or sliding into a general thermonuclear Armageddon, as the last argument of those who have not learned to think correctly. I would be grateful to hear criticism in my address.
  11. vlad127490 Offline vlad127490
    vlad127490 (Vlad Gor) 6 January 2023 00: 25
    There is no legal document according to which it is possible to shoot down and destroy satellites of the Earth. Without a document, this is chatter. Satellites of NATO countries and their satellites provide information, any. The Armed Forces of Ukraine use this information at the front. RF can not interfere with the transmission of inf. from NATO to Ukraine. The Russian Federation has no means and opportunities. Why is another question. A sea vessel or an artificial satellite of the Earth is the territory of a country. Without a war, no one will attack. There was Rogozin, there was Borisov, there is no difference between them, if anyone is interested, read the story of the official Borisov.
    1. borisvt Offline borisvt
      borisvt (boris) 6 January 2023 13: 17
      We don’t have enough lawyers at the head of the country, even here - without documents, you see, it’s impossible to fight in any way. We are at war, right? The stakes are high, there's nowhere to go, right? What other document do you need?
      I am sure that hands will reach the satellites, unfortunately. Unfortunately, yes - and ours too, and most likely, ours have already reached. Well, compasses are still produced by our industry, and Chinese too. You will have to blow off the dust from the cards, so we will blow it off))
  12. voznesensky Offline voznesensky
    voznesensky (Oleg Petrovich) 6 January 2023 03: 47
    The key issue now on the agenda is not so much replenishing our own orbital constellation of satellites as neutralizing the enemy's... our country has every right to shoot down foreign reconnaissance satellites.

    Does it really occur to none of those who advocate the destruction of NATO satellites that in this case "their country" will also have the "full right to shoot down" our, as rightly stated, a few reconnaissance satellites, as well as our communications satellites. Or does someone naively believe that with such mutual destruction of satellite constellations, for some reason we will be stronger? No, friends - this will be our cosmic catastrophe in the direct and figurative meanings of the word! I believe that the West and especially the States today would very much like to have such a chance to deprive us of space communications. In addition to all the other sanctions imposed against us... And one would have to be the last fool to give such a great chance to the enemy. But now, it turns out that in our country, the role of such fools is played not only by visitors to Internet portals who are not responsible for anything, but also by people who, by virtue of their positions, should at least be professionally trained specialists. Here, in particular, I am referring to Vladimir Yermakov, Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, quoted in the article. These are the specialists we have - irresponsible and not very smart, to put it mildly!
    1. usm5 Offline usm5
      usm5 (George) 6 January 2023 11: 20
      Unfortunately, such "non-fools" control the politics of Russia. And here I am afraid and there I am afraid. Whatever happens, one step forward and two steps back. I remember as a child in my yard there was a boy with such consciousness. He was beaten and humiliated by all and sundry. So he grew up handicapped for life. Churchill correctly said: "If you choose humiliation between war and humiliation, then as a result you will still get both war and humiliation." A war in space can indeed end in the destruction of all satellite constellations as a result of the use of nuclear charges, but this is the only thing that can save humanity from a thermonuclear war on earth, which will inevitably be started by the side that has gained hegemony in space.
  13. borisvt Offline borisvt
    borisvt (boris) 6 January 2023 13: 22
    A very important article, very much, thanks to the author!
    Our scientists should not be underestimated, for sure there are ideas and proposed technologies, I hope, are already in development. It’s a pity, of course, that they didn’t bother to do it earlier, so it was necessary to build fewer towns, and perhaps lay empty gas pipelines, and listen more closely to science, including military science.
  14. The comment was deleted.
  15. blackcat190463 Offline blackcat190463
    blackcat190463 (Yuri) 12 January 2023 19: 04
    Can we --- can't, can the Americans --- rather yes than no. They are very successfully launching a space bast shoe, which, most likely, was stolen from us during the years of perestroika, the project is completely secret military and it is not clear what is being done in space hi
  16. SP-Ang Offline SP-Ang
    SP-Ang (Sergei) 12 January 2023 21: 50
    Quote from Nelton.
    to design and manufacture waveguides on their own, based on previously developed technical groundwork.

    a third-year student of a specialized university will calculate the diameter of a copper tube or profile, where the side is a quarter of the wavelength, which then needs to be polished and silvered - this will be the waveguide.
    I'll do it for free, please contact me.
    The main thing is not in these pieces of iron, but in the components that operate at the right frequencies, and there already beyond 12 GHz. If earlier they managed with klystrons and TWT, then now this is unacceptable, too uneconomical.
    And there is nothing else of their own, they have been re-optimized.
  17. Event Observer Offline Event Observer
    Event Observer (Oleg T) 18 January 2023 18: 54
    And why not transfer the overexposure to some third parties abroad and let them blind the satellites. And the Americans will figure out for themselves who blinds them, but what do we care.