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If Russia is developing some kind of space-based weapon, Putin may never get to use it. Here’s why.

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News of a possible Russian satellite-destroying, space-based nuclear weapon sent shock waves through Washington this week. Some officials responded with considerable alarm, while others insisted that such concern is—for the moment—an overreaction. On Thursday, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the alleged space weapon is “not an active capability that’s been deployed” and is not an “immediate threat to anyone’s safety”—though he added that the Biden administration will continue to “take it very seriously.” Citing two officials with knowledge of the intelligence, the Washington Post reported this week that the military capability in question is a “nuclear-armed,” not “nuclear-powered,” weapon. 

Mai’a Cross, dean’s professor of political science, international affairs and diplomacy, and director of the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures at Northeastern University, says that although it’s unclear exactly what the feared Russian capability is, the country may be too crippled by the war in Ukraine to ever test such a weapon aimed at satellites. Additionally, Cross points to the “cascading effects” that weapons used in low Earth orbit could wreak on other satellites—including Russia’s very own. 

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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