|Orbits of debris generated one month after a 2007 Chinese anti-satellite test; the white orbit represents the International Space Station. In May 2014, Russia launched a mystery object that some experts say could be an anti-satellite weapon.|
By Mike Wall
The orbital maneuvers of a mysterious object Russia launched earlier this year have raised concerns that the satellite may be a space weapon of some sort.
The speculation centers on "Object 2014-28E," which Russia lofted along with three military communications satellites in May. The object was originally thought to be space junk, but satellite trackers have watched it perform a number of interesting maneuvers over the past few weeks, the Financial Times reported Monday (Nov. 17).
Last weekend, for example, 2014-28E apparently met up with the remnants of a rocket stage that helped the object reach orbit.
As a result, some space analysts wonder if Object 2014-28E could be part of an anti-satellite program — perhaps a revived version of the Cold War-era "Istrebitel Sputnikov" ("satellite killer") project, which Russian officials have said was retired when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. . . .
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