The news comes as the Kremlin becomes increasingly wary of foreign surveillance in light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, fast approaching five months since the conflict started. The project is believed to have been started in 2011, with fresh evidence suggesting work is now underway, and will see Kalina provide additional mobile laser dazzling, which has been in use since late 2019 with a sister project named Peresvet.
Reports by thespacereview.com and bgr.com, suggest the anti-satellite weapon is a component of the Krona space surveillance system operated by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
The location of that complex is several miles to the west of Zelenchukskaya, itself an 18-hour drive from Moscow, and near the border of Georgia.
The Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science is also not far from the weapon.
According to reports, the highly sensitive complex is being used to run anti-satellite systems using both radar and lidar technology.
Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.
The idea was founded in the 1970s when the Soviet government came up with the initial system.
However, the facility and technology did not become fully operational until the early 2000s.
The Space Review points out that up until this point, all we have to go on are a few online purchases and court records to determine Kalina’s existence.
The technical articles that are almost certainly connected to the project in some way have been found thanks to these documents.
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Many people think Kalina is intended to function as an anti-satellite weapon that can hit foreign imaging satellites as a result.
Due to the unknown factors surrounding the project, it is not yet evident how efficiently the system works.
With the project still in the relatively early stages of operational functionality, it is likely the device will be used in future Russian plans.
Russia has remained highly covert over its recent space operations.
Tensions have remained high between Russia and the US when it comes to space cooperation as a result of the war in Ukraine.
In April, Moscow announced it would halt cooperation with the US over the International Space Station (ISS).
Russia’s space director said the restoration of normal ties between partners at the ISS and other joint space projects would be possible only once western sanctions against Moscow were lifted.
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Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said in a social media post that the aim of the sanctions was to “kill the Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees”.
He added that they “won’t succeed in it, but the intentions are clear”.
The space chief continued: “That’s why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the ISS and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions.”
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The European Space Agency has also announced it was suspending cooperation with Roscosmos over the ExoMars rover mission to search for signs of life on the surface of Mars.
The British satellite venture OneWeb said it had contracted with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send its satellites into orbit after calling off a March 4 launch of thirty-six satellites from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan because of last-minute demands imposed on it by Moscow.
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