Military Review

New threats from space

How Russia is going to fend them in the near future

The role of the space control system (SSS) in ensuring the national security of the country is difficult to overestimate today. 17 July 2013 was exactly 25 years since the establishment of the Main Space Intelligence Center of the East Kazakhstan Region. What path has he traveled during this time and what tasks does he solve today?

The SCCU is an integral part of the country's aerospace defense and has its own characteristics. This is a large information system that combines the capabilities of all the facilities of the Ministry of Defense and civilian agencies, designed for continuous, continuous and global assessment of the space situation in both peacetime and wartime.

Only in the USA and Russia

KKP system has its history creation and development. The need to monitor space objects has arisen since the launch of October 4 1957, the first artificial satellite of the Earth, with the beginning of the space age. The clearly defined tasks of continuous and continuous monitoring of space objects raised the question of developing means of observing and processing measurement information that would allow taking such measures that would be able to carry out space activities with guarantee.

Currently, we can trace the dynamics of the increase in the number of space objects. If in 60-ies the number of KOs was in the hundreds, in 80 – 90-e, in the thousands, then today we are talking about tens of thousands of objects and this is far from the limit. But this phenomenon has a negative side. Intensive exploration of space, the destruction of a number of KOs for various reasons led to the fact that a large number of fragments appeared in orbits, representing a real threat to both operating spacecraft and manned space station. There was even the term "space junk".

At the first stage of the creation and development of the SCCE, the tasks of monitoring the state of the spacecraft were solved by attracting funds from the ANS, ABM, and optical observation stations of the Astro Council of the USSR Academy of Sciences. But even then it was understood the need to have their own specialized means of the PSC system.

In 1975, the CCKP was established, which was armed with the multiprocessor computing complexes Elbrus-1 and Elbrus-2. The center is capable of processing a large flow of radar and optical information. In the same years, the large-scale construction of specialized means of the space monitoring system began. By this time, the flow of radar and optical information had reached an enormous amount, over 60 of thousands of orbital measurements per day, and the need for precise determination of the orbital parameters of a single orbit by position and time increased sharply.

By the end of 80-s, it became obvious that such a system should have unified management, because the funds were located at a considerable distance from each other, and their subordination did not allow to effectively solve the tasks.

17 July 1988 was formed a separate corps control space, which was later transformed into a division, and today - in the Main Center for the exploration of the space situation. The first corps commander - Lieutenant-General A. Suslov, generals G. Dobrov, V. Derkach, S. Lobov, O. Frolov, V. Lyaporov, A. Nestechuk, who later led the formation, laid the foundation of today's national KKP system.

I emphasize that the SCC is a national system of a country that is unique. Hence, its main strategic mission is to ensure continuous global monitoring of the state of the space situation in order to create the security of the space activities of our state. It is probably clear to everyone that today’s outer space is the area where the main means of command and control are concentrated. weapons, intelligence, communications, navigation, meteorology of foreign countries, and the space itself, along with the sea, land and air, is gradually becoming the main sphere of warfare. As the experience of conducting military operations of the last decades shows, it is precisely through outer space that all groups of forces are managed, all types of reconnaissance are conducted, and communications are provided. And such systems are developing in all countries.

At present, only the Russian Federation and the United States have national space control systems, but other states participating in international space activities are moving towards the creation of such systems. First of all, the countries of Europe, through the European Space Agency, and China. And here it is important to be able to obtain reliable information about the space situation.

Therefore, the main tasks that are defined for the Main Center for Space Intelligence are:

  • continuous analysis of the space situation;
  • conducting radio intelligence for the purpose of timely opening of threats in outer space and issuing information to the appropriate state and military authorities;
  • Maintaining the main catalog of space objects.

    Based on these tasks, the role of the PSC system in the implementation of the national security of the country is determined. It consists in informational support of solving problems of countering threats emanating from space, in space, unhindered deployment and operation of domestic spacecraft groupings, as well as assessing other hazards associated with man-made obstruction of outer space. Their solution is possible only within the framework of a single information triad: missile attack warning systems (SPRN), antimissile defense (ABM), and space control (PSC). And such an embodiment of combat capabilities will be implemented in the framework of the intensively created system of aerospace defense of the country, where the SCCU is given the most important place as the main information component.

    Debris in orbit

    In accordance with the Treaty on the Principles of Activities of States for the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies of January 27, 1967, which is the basis of international space law, more than 100 countries are parties to the treaty and have access to space.

    New threats from space

    For us as specialists today, we need to know everything about outer space: how many KOs in orbits, their characteristics, in what state they are, are controlled or not, the influence of space on KOs, etc. One of the main tasks is to maintain the Main Catalog of Space Objects , that is, a single database of all KO. Now only the Russian Federation and the United States have the ability to maintain such directories, which, in accordance with international treaties, regularly exchange this information.

    The CO catalog is intended for long-term storage of orbital measuring, radar, optical, radio engineering, and special information about space objects of artificial origin at an altitude from 120 to 40 thousands of kilometers. It contains information about a space object: number, orbital characteristics, signs, coordinates, etc. Total order of 1500 indicators.

    Today, there are more than 15 thousands of space objects in various orbits, of which 1250 are operating domestic and foreign spacecraft. But a lot of different debris. What are they dangerous? If the control of an operating spacecraft may be influenced by a person in order to correct his orbit and prevent collisions and destruction, the remaining objects are just the danger that can lead to various man-made accidents and catastrophes. That is why the problem of space debris is most relevant. And in order to influence this situation, to calculate the possible options for its development, the Main Catalog of CRs is kept.

    At present, only about 10 percent KOs are rotating around the Earth, which can be influenced to varying degrees, and about 90 percent represent space debris, while the actual number of KOs that fit this category significantly exceeds the counting capacity (estimated to 100 thousand KO).

    As can be seen from the analysis, unfortunately, today it is physically impossible to have complete information about all QOs, especially small ones. The capabilities of specialized tools do not yet allow to obtain the characteristics of all types of QOs (improvement of the PSC system in accordance with the Program for the creation and further development of the SSSC up to 2020 of the year will significantly improve our capabilities by 2020). One of the main problems is the impossibility of influencing such processes in order to prevent undesirable consequences.

    What can this lead to? To a collision, and consequently, to destruction and, as a consequence, the appearance of an even greater number of QoS in orbits, disabling of the spacecraft, disruption of the functioning of various space systems, such as communications, navigation and others. All this in case of unfavorable development of the situation is fraught with serious financial losses and loss of life. For example, a small fragment of just over one centimeter in size can completely destroy any spacecraft.

    But it is in space. Possible consequences associated with the fall of KO to the surface of the Earth. For example, a KO of more than one meter in size leaves the orbit once a week. And our task is precisely to anticipate such a situation, to determine with what degree of probability it will occur, where, in what area there will be a fall. We consider situations related to changes in the parameters of functioning, orbital characteristics, and dangerous approaches, daily.

    The most significant examples are:

  • 1991, December - Cosmos-1934 spacecraft collided with a fragment of the destruction of Cosmos-926 spacecraft;
  • 1996, July - French spacecraft "Seriz" collided with the stage "Ariane";
  • 2005, January - the American Thor stage, Thor, was confronted with a fragment of the destruction of the Chinese RL CSL-4 stage;
  • 2006, March - the Express-AM-11 spacecraft at the GSO collided with a CM object;
  • 2009, February - Iridium-25 spacecraft collided with Cosmos-2251 spacecraft.

    Is it possible to influence this situation? On the one hand, it is possible if the spacecraft is controllable; on the other hand, it is impossible if it is out of control.

    I will give examples of the fall of KO on Earth:

  • de-orbit in the uncontrolled mode of the Skylab orbital station (mass ~ 77 tons);
  • uncontrollable de-orbit and fall of the Salyut-7 OS (mass ~ 40 tons) into South America;
  • a fall due to the unsuccessful launch of the interplanetary space station Mars-96 (mass ~ 5 tons);
  • crash due to unsuccessful launch of the Phobos-Grunt satellite (mass ~ 9 tons).

    The essence of the work of specialists of the Main Center is to constantly analyze this situation and influence it in time. How?

    The first. Timely issue information to relevant consumers about the space situation: launches, maneuvers in orbit, changes in their parameters, and dangerous proximity. Today, for three or more days, we can determine the parameters of a KO approach, allocate dangerous ones among them. So, we consider dangerous approaching KOs that meet the following criteria: on kilometer altitude ± 7,5, along kilometer orbit ± 7, kilometer across orbit, 7 kilometer, which means rather high probability of collision of approaching KOs.

    The second. In order to ensure the safety of manned flights, continuous monitoring of the presence of dangerous approaches to the ISS is carried out. For example, in April 2011, the American side issued data on the presence of a fact of dangerous convergence with the ISS of a fragment of the destroyed Chinese spacecraft Fenyun-1-3. The parameters presented by them turned out to be so dangerous that the issue of evacuation of the space station crew was considered. After careful calculations were made by the national PSC system, a refutation of the dangerous rapprochement with the ISS, issued by the American side, was received. For two turns to rapprochement, the United States recognized its mistake. In November, a similar situation arose for 2012. The US side issued a warning about a dangerous approach to the ISS of a fragment of unknown origin with the number NORAD 81662. Our system after the calculations did not confirm the danger. Later on, the Americans agreed.

    If we talk about sufficiently long time intervals, then in the 2012-m system of the PAC, 21 detected a dangerous convergence of CRs with domestic spacecraft. In the same year, our specialists accepted and processed over 17 millions of radar and about four million optical measurements, detected and included in the general account over 200 KO, recognized and taken to support the 150 order of newly launched spacecraft and elements of their launches, monitored around 180 maneuvers Spacecraft in orbits, the termination of the ballistic existence over 150 KO is determined with the definition of the area of ​​the possible fall of 70 of them.

    Development prospects

    The main center of CSC is armed with modern high-tech specialized means of collecting coordinate and non-coordinate information about CR. Among them, the Center for Space Control (CKKP), designed for receiving, storing and processing in automatic mode information about space objects coming from the facilities of the KKP, PRN, PRO systems, Russian Academy of Sciences, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

    The Main Space Intelligence Center also includes the Krona radio-optical space object recognition complex, which performs the tasks of detecting spacecraft in the range of a radar facility, determining their motion parameters, cataloging the reflective characteristics of space objects in the radar and optical wavelength ranges, including optical image.

    In addition, a unique optical-electronic space object recognition system "Window", located in the Republic of Tajikistan, plays a crucial role in the functioning of the PSC system. The complex is designed to detect space objects in the survey area, determine the parameters of their movement, obtain photometric characteristics of space objects and issue information about them to the PSC center.

    The GC RKO also includes an information processing center, an information and analytical center, and a number of other specialized means.

    All of these tools are currently performing mission duty. Only the main center of space missile defense is able to pinpoint exactly where the spacecraft is at any given time and how it behaves in orbit. The SC RKO is a center for generalizing all information about space, especially in the event of emergency situations in orbit with various spacecraft.

    In recent years, the entire weapons system has been upgraded, which will expand the existing Main Catalog to 30 thousands of objects. By the 2020 year, with the commissioning of new stations of the space monitoring system, the Aerospace Defense Forces will be able to continuously monitor near-earth space in all moods and all altitudes, which will make it possible to track small-size space debris. The newly built and modernized stations will allow monitoring objects with dimensions already 10 centimeters, which will significantly increase our ability to maintain the Main Catalog of space objects and protect the national security of the Russian Federation.
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    1. sven27
      sven27 11 September 2013 15: 46
      The Chinese will soon throw garbage into orbit.
      1. xetai9977
        xetai9977 11 September 2013 15: 55
        "Space debris" is already becoming a real threat, since it can disable the existing devices and not only them. Several times, particles the size of a bus have already fallen to the Earth. In my opinion, so far only an accident saved people from death.
        1. sven27
          sven27 11 September 2013 16: 01
          A couple would have to put special garbage containers into orbit, which would collect garbage and throw it away into space)))
          1. Aryan
            Aryan 11 September 2013 16: 46
            you friends are not seeing the solution to the problem of space debris
            actually it is necessary to cancel at the UN level for a month
            Newton’s universal law of gravity wassat
            then space debris itself will fly far, far
            and at the same time, all the droid droids bully
            and then the landing of the STAR OF DEATH will clear its way for the invasion of Earth ...
      2. Civil
        Civil 11 September 2013 17: 24
        Probably about 25-30 years they've been lulling the topic of space debris, China has especially enchantingly spoiled it, having shot down its satellite with a rocket.
        The Nurek hydroelectric power station was built for Okna and the nearby fields.
        A backup was recently built in Altai, it seems, there was open information.
    2. serge-68-68
      serge-68-68 11 September 2013 16: 01
      These are not new threats. These are old threats.
      It will be curious to see how the earthlings run in, if some scenario like "Apocalypse" or "Independence Day" suddenly starts to come true. :) And even here: according to the "Apocalypse" the Yankees are working, in particular, trying to catch an asteroid. But according to the second scenario, I wonder if there are any developments?
    3. amp
      amp 11 September 2013 16: 10
      In Soviet times, there was a project to create killer satellites to destroy American military satellites. In my opinion, the idea is good. If GPS satellites are disabled, their cruise missiles can only be guided by the AWACS system. Shoot down AWACS aircraft is not so difficult. Especially when you consider that in the future all the most important objects will be protected by the C 400. Without GPS and AWACS, their vaunted cruise missiles will cease to be high-precision weapons. They will not be able to get into rocket mines or bunkers for sure. Although about the latter, it would be nice to duplicate them with mobile gearboxes. It can be trains or large trucks disguised as ordinary trucks.
      1. chehywed
        chehywed 11 September 2013 16: 25
        Quote: amp
        In Soviet times, there was a project to create killer satellites to destroy American military satellites.

        There was a cheaper idea of ​​Academician Yu.B. Khariton - to detonate a rocket in orbit with parcel nails. Cheap and angry. ALL orbiting satellites were put out of action. And since there are fewer of our companions and they are several times cheaper than the American ones, then we are "in chocolate".
        1. clidon
          clidon 11 September 2013 19: 21
          Who will direct the nails? How will you distribute them evenly? Count how many hundreds of tons of nails will be needed to "bury" at least one tenth of the near-earth space with a "volume" of hundreds of cubic kilometers.
          I even doubt that Hariton could have said that seriously.

          PS And where did you get the idea that our satellites are cheaper? We definitely don’t need them there.
          1. chehywed
            chehywed 11 September 2013 21: 13
            Quote: clidon
            Who will direct the nails?

            Well, in your opinion, how many parcel nails will fit in one rocket? And you can jerk five. And pointing them is NOT NECESSARY. Unfortunately, Khariton died in 1996 and cannot confirm my words. And his proposal from the beginning of 80's, as a cheap answer to the multi-billion dollar SOI.
            1. clidon
              clidon 12 September 2013 15: 11
              "Well, let's count." The weight of the nail is -1 gram. There are 100000 of these nails in a ton. We can deliver 6 tons to an elliptical orbit with a Proton rocket (this is the maximum carrier rocket we have in terms of carrying capacity), and 20 tons will be thrown into a low orbit. 6 or 20 million nails, respectively. One square kilometer of "overlap" of the orbit, in conditions of ideal distribution of studs in one meter increments, requires one million nails. Correspondingly, 1 proton rocket will cover 6 square kilometers of high orbit or 20 of a low one in unrealistically ideal conditions. Satellites fly in orbits from 150 to several tens of thousands of kilometers, and we can launch two Protons simultaneously.
              I do not know what Khariton actually said there, but the idea of ​​"cheap nails" in orbit is more of a utopia, a popular bike on the Internet. Or someone's joke. The only place these nails could get in the way is in geostationary orbit. Unfortunately, military systems are usually elliptical - Navstar (GPS), Iridium, Keyhole, Lacross, and even controlled, that is, there are spare orbits and even spare satellites (like Navstar and Iridium).
              1. chehywed
                chehywed 13 September 2013 00: 12
                Quote: clidon
                "Well, let's count"

                Washed ... hi I heard about "nails in orbit" back in the USSR, decided that the button accordion, later saw a film about Khariton, where they said that it was his idea, then went nuts and believed. Wishing to argue with you, I got into the Internet ... it turned out to be crap. mine is my enemy.
      2. clidon
        clidon 11 September 2013 19: 17
        What is there for the Tomahawks? belay
    4. aspirin02
      aspirin02 11 September 2013 16: 34
      Here I came across a video where Kiev aliens line up ...
    5. IRBIS
      IRBIS 11 September 2013 17: 00
      Maybe Uzbeks and Tajiks will master garbage collection in space? And fly away into boundless distances? And they work, and we are calmer ...
    6. Kibalchish
      Kibalchish 11 September 2013 19: 00
      Yes, there are really enough threats from space hi
    7. Dyukha Siberian
      Dyukha Siberian 11 September 2013 19: 41
      it’s time to already develop the technology so as not to sink the stations in the ocean, infecting it with radiation, but to bring them out closer to the sun for destruction! and satellites there are outdated! otherwise, we will soon fall asleep with their own garbage!
      1. MstislavHrabr
        MstislavHrabr 11 September 2013 21: 47
        Perhaps flying asteroids will take away a ton of other debris ...
        We need to think about a space ship that could suck in debris from its orbit and bullet them through alien satellites ...
    8. studentmati
      studentmati 11 September 2013 22: 34
      New threats from space

      A very powerful tool for global terrorism. Figuratively speaking, one rocket with nails and balls crosses for many years even the very possibility of space flights.
    9. Andrey Peter
      Andrey Peter 11 September 2013 23: 00
      What kind of subjects went to VO. Hit a war fanatic? These questions are clearly understood by (I don’t even know how to say) specialists. Something I'm tired of reading nonsense. Let’s discuss the real events here and comment on them.
    10. Mareman Vasilich
      Mareman Vasilich 12 September 2013 11: 37
      Not everything is so simple with these collisions. Painfully their dates are remarkable. It is necessary to look at what geopolitical events took place at that time, and some moments will take their place. For example, "2009, February - Iridium-25 spacecraft collided with Kosmos-2251 spacecraft." This is the time of the ABM rush in Europe. Our space has been taken out of service, and their iridium is an ordinary military spy satellite. But who said that our Cosmos-2251 is uncontrollable? Maybe it was a hint from our side, so that the amers would think about more and more with this one, because we have a lot of "trash" in orbit. I just recently began to look closely at the dates, and many things became clearer.
      1. clidon
        clidon 12 September 2013 15: 16
        Well, yes, the trash flew, flew, and then started the engine flew up to the enemy satellite, shot down it, but everyone pretended that it was just so trash flying.
        Take a closer look at the dates, otherwise you’ll calculate the next apocalypse. wink