Russia recently launched a satellite that is potentially aimed to spy on an American satellite, according to experts. The Kosmos-2558 satellite, which was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on Monday, is believed to be an "inspector" craft.
Russia's military satellite is launched into the same orbital plane as USA 326, an American spy satellite that rode a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to orbit this past February.
Satellites Could Have Relatively Close Encounters
The two satellites are close in altitude as well, and they're scheduled to have a relatively close encounter soon, provided neither one performs any significant maneuvers over the next day or so, according to Space.
America's Classified Satellite Recently Ejected a Subsatellite
USA 326, America's classified satellite, recently ejected something endorsing a claim that it could potentially be a subsatellite.
"New object cataloged from the USA 326 (CRYSTAL spy satellite) launched by Falcon 9 in Feb 2022. Object 53315 is in a 348 x 388 km x 97.4 deg orbit; unclear yet whether a debris object or a subsatellite," tweeted Jonathan McDowell, astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics.
Kosmos 2558 Could Be A Spysat Stalker
Netherlands-based satellite tracker Marco Langbroek suspects that Kosmos 2558 could be a spysat stalker. After all, two Russian satellites maneuvered within about 100 miles (160 km) of the United States' USA 245 spacecraft in early 2020.
US officials are also aware of Russia's move as they were not happy with the orbital inspection.
Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, commander of the newly minted U.S. Space Force, told Time magazine the Russian spacecraft began maneuvering toward the American satellite shortly after being launched into orbit in November, at times creeping within 100 miles of it. "We view this behavior as unusual and disturbing. It has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space," said Raymond.
In connection with the development, Washington also expressed its concerns to Russia through diplomatic channels.