Russia moves ahead in the race to dominate space

With little fanfare, last year Russia reportedly fielded its S-550 anti-satellite (ASAT) missile system, which can hit spacecraft, ballistic missile re-entry vehicles and hypersonic targets at altitudes of tens of thousands of kilometers. 

The S-550 is believed to be a mobile system specializing in strategic defense against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), with a “space attack” and “space defense” role, referring to hard-kill missions against enemy satellites.

The S-550 is a possible continuation of a late Soviet-era weapons program for a “high-mobility terminal air defense system” in development from 1981 to 1988. It was then scrapped as part of Soviet-US arms control agreements. 

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