Joe Biden mocked by Vine for Vladimir Putin call blunder
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The US Space Force has installed a new radar system that it says will be able to detect objects the size of baseballs in orbit. The huge system, dubbed the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), has reportedly been installed at the Clear Space Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska. It will support the US missile defence system and provide precise data on its adversaries.
US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) director Jon Hill said: “Today marks an extremely important milestone for US homeland defence.
“The LRDR has finished construction, and we can now begin the testing phase that will lead to the full operational use of this vital system.”
It is expected that the system will go online in 2023, following a year of testing.
Once operational, the radar will give the US Space Force the ability to “simultaneously search, track, and discriminate multiple small, baseball-sized objects” in orbit.
Mr Hill added: “LRDR will allow Northern Command to better defend the US from ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.”
The decision marks a significant milestone for the work of the US Space Command and the developing arms race in space.
It comes after Russia’ deputy foreign minister compared the tensions on the Ukraine border to the Cuban Missile Crisis – a time where the world came the closest to nuclear war.
Sergei Ryabkov said: “You know, it really could come to that.
“If things continue as they are, it is entirely possible by the logic of events to suddenly wake up and see yourself in something similar.”
But it also comes after Russia caught the US off-guard with an anti-satellite (ASAT) test.
The Russian military destroyed a defunct satellite on November 15.
It was blasted into more than 1,500 pieces and caused astronauts on board the ISS to have to shelter.
The test drew widespread condemnation from U.S. officials, which Russian officials responded by calling “hypocritical” given past American military tests in space.
The Pentagon has now called for a global halt to ASAT weapon tests.
The US Department of Defense deputy secretary Kathleen Hicks, said: “We would like to see all nations agree to refrain from anti-satellite weapons testing that creates debris.”
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To date, four countries – the US, Russia, China, and India – have previously destroyed their own satellites in ASAT tests.
Vice US President Kamala Harris said last month: “By blasting debris … [Russia] endangered the satellites of other nations, as well as astronauts on the ISS.
“The test created a moment for us to really see very clearly what can happen and what potentially can be avoided with norms and rules.”
It is estimated there is close to 10,000 tonnes of hardware in orbit – much of is still active and useful, but a lot is now considered useless.
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