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RUSSIAN SPACE
Russian Space research in 2012
by Yekaterina Kudashkina
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Oct 01, 2012


File image.

Gennady Yevstafyev - retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Sir, thank you so much for joining us.

The first question would be just how many countries are involved in the space research now?

Now over 100 states are connected in the military purposes, over 20 countries are working very actively in this sense in the practical way.

And how it all began?

We consider that of course the space was opened by the Russian sputnik in 1957. And it is true, the Russian sputnik gave a tremendous push to the discussions of space. One of pioneers of space law, of the rules of behavior of different countries in space, was Argentinean Ambassador Alfredo Cocca.

And he put forward the fundamental formula for the space that space is the common property of all mankind and space belongs to all mankind and the sovereignty of space is a joined exercise of all the countries. That included in his ideas the use of the Moon in peaceful purposes because he also considered that the Moon belongs to the family of the nations of the world.

And in 1963 the General Assembly of the UN unanimously adopted a resolution which is called the Declaration of Principles which reflected all these ideas of space as a common property of mankind. And this resolution gave birth to the first agreement which was signed in Moscow in 1967 which has put these ideas into the legal form and introduced the idea of space as international area which lies beyond the national jurisdiction.

And how about now? Does anyone remember that resolution? Is it still valid?
We are actually in this kind of understanding right now. But the problem is - there are technological developments which as compared to 1967 are tremendous and some countries are far ahead of the others and they are trying to make their position known to the other people, and they are trying to establish the leadership.

And their advantages in the technological field and convert them into the political and military advantages. The US in all agreements on demilitarization of space they were trying to avoid the prohibition of military activities in cosmic area. And their attempts were numerous but they didn't work.

But definitely it seems it is not the case now, is it?
There were left certain loopholes which allowed the leading countries of the world to have some military activity in space. And in 1982 the interpretation of the conference of the UNISPACE gave certain opportunities for that.

And the thing is that the use of space in a passive way really didn't bother many people. What I mean saying "the passive use of space" - the interpretation was that the systems of support, such as sputniks and satellites for the purposes of communication, meteorology and navigation, could be the satellites of dual capacity - used in peaceful purposes as well as in military purposes. This is very difficult to check and it was a legally justified approach.

What would the military use of satellites imply?
The military means of monitoring. That means the use of different gadgets with the high degree of definition and electronic systems of intelligence gathering and so on, including the early warning systems. The conference also defined that there could be space systems of weapons, first of all anti-satellite weapons and weapons based on laser and other new means of technology.

And to be very honest for thirty years most of the satellites which were launched at that period till the end of the 20th century over 70% of these satellites were of military denomination. Because you know, in the period of Cold War and confrontation the US and the Soviet Union actively developed anti-missile systems, anti-satellite systems. But as it was prohibited there was no weapon elements of which were based in space.

So, space wars, is it the American idea?
The Americans right from the beginning were trying to discuss the problem of putting weapons in space. You know, even in 1948 the German experts which were captured by the Americans, for example the famous Walter Dornberger, he put forward the idea of putting a nuclear bomb on the satellite on the low level orbit around the Earth. Von Brawn was the author of military orbital station and the idea which he formulated was to destroy the facilities of the enemy on the Earth.

One has to admit that in the Soviet Union there was also one very important project which was called the Project R-36. It was a problem of partially orbital missile. You see, the problem, as it is legally put, the space object becomes the satellite only after one revolution around the Earth. If it has not achieved one revolution around the Earth, then it was not considered to be really valuable and justified by all rules space instrument.

And that's why the Russian Federation has created a partially orbital which really have put Americans into a tremor and they have insisted on the prohibition of this system because it could attack the territory, not from the expected trajectories, but from any place on the low orbit, and it was not considered to be a prohibited object in space.

And what happened to the system?
In 1971 the last launch of this system was arranged and in 1979 under the strategic II agreement these orbital missiles were totally prohibited. One has to say that Americans after Gagarin's flight made a tremendous effort and they have achieved serious advantages over the Soviet Union in many areas of space research, and they first came to the Moon.

If the come to the recent years, we are coming to understand that major directions of the space research and space competition were already defined in 1980'es - this was the use of space in military and dual capacity purposes, commercial use of space and scientific research of space. Of course it has ended in a determined way in 2002 when the Americans left the antimissile treaty and they do not hide that the American space policy and of course of NATO as a junior partner has the firm goal - to achieve the really crucial military domination in the world though the use of space, and of course putting this domination into practical thing.

Are you saying in practical terms?
This was clearly shown when there were operation in the Persian Gulf and operation in Yugoslavia because the use of space systems were really indispensable part of the American operation against Yugoslavia and Iraq, because they were using such satellites as KH-11, the satellites of radiolocation monitoring - Lacrosse, Ferret, Ferret-D, Jumpsuit, Magnum, Mentor and many others.

And of course even such systems, like the systems of antimissile defense of sea based Aegis, are based also on the achievements of the Americans in space and space is playing a tremendous role in this field. And of course Americans have resumed the work on the program of the so called lightweight advanced technology kill vehicles and as part of it such very famous program of 80'es as Brilliant Pebbles. And they promised that within 3-5 years they would test the elements of antimissile defense of space basing.

And in this sense we have to note and we have to be very clear that in 1999 Americans have published the doctrine and space policy of military defense which was for some time the space policy of the US in a really open way. And this problem was developed further and in the last ten years Americans for several times announced that they would really make a tremendous contribution to development of their space policy. For example there is new approach to the Moon program.

So, the military use of space seems to be a legitimate practical project in the US now.

American military doctrine has become the really integral part of Obama's doctrine on space which was published in the US in 2010. A number of developments are supporting the idea of Americans to increase their domination of space and for example they are creating new satellite super system which would convert the existing military satellite system Iridium and combining it with the GPS they think they would dominate monitoring the developments in space and on the Earth to a tremendous degree.

So, which implies that what we are doing now is just living up to some kind of new reality.

In this sense we have to get prepared that the basing of weapons in space and converting of space into a potential area of military actions is a tremendous blow to strategic stability. And this was noticed by the Russian Government together with the Chinese who are very circumspect these days and they have also tried to show their capabilities in space.

Under a very funny pretext they have destroyed their satellite, allegedly a wrong working satellite, with the missile fired from the Earth which is prohibited in a practical sense. And they said that it was an exception because the satellite was presenting certain dangers to the space activities and so on. But they clearly showed that they have been working on that and they are acquiring new capabilities in this field.

But are we doing anything to prevent arms race getting into space?
Of course a new round of arms race going to the qualitatively new level is a tremendous danger for the mankind. We have to be vigilant in this sense and Russia and China of course are trying to prevent the development of strategic concepts in the military use of space.

And Russia and China have put forward a proposal of new negotiations on prohibition of the use of space in military purposes. Unfortunately we don't have big successes on this way, though Obama's policy in space is formulated optically not in a confrontational way.

The main thrust of this Obama's doctrine is the domination in space and use of their technical advantages and new technical developments for really preventing other countries to be equal in space to the US. And this sense they are in a hurry because the advantage could not be a long term affair. But in a sense they are now leading.

You have to understand that 95% of satellites in the world are built in the US. So, technically the US is very far ahead of us. We are proud that we have more than 50% of space launches but we are launching satellites and those satellites, 95% of them, are built in the US.

So, what do we have now?
What we have now - we are faced with the American's demand to allow the work of their philosophy - freedom of action in the space and freedom of action which would really avoid any limitations on the activity in the new fields. And in the long run Americans are aiming at factual blocking of other countries in the space because their domination is very serious as it stands now.

What we have - we have a choice. Russia in the space activity has a choice of two ways of action - either we agree to remain the second rate space power or we are trying to develop the strategy of developing the scientific and technical potential in space, and secure our position in space, and in this sense arrange our national security with our won means.

Fortunately the discussion which was going on a few years ago in the Russian expert society came to an end and the Government of the Russian Federation has made a very clear choice that Russia would remain the leading space power which would open a way for development of very different systems including the system which secures the national security.

So, do I get you right that what we are now witnessing is arms race spilling over to space?

No. Of course no diplomatic reaction is timely, this is very well known. Diplomatic actions and political actions are always lagging behind. But it is an extremely important time now for the mankind and we mobilize the opinion of mankind and the opinion of other really serious players in the international affairs to achieve such an agreement which would prevent the negative development in the space.

Well, with this note of hope...
Yes, we hope. But you see, the arms race finds its loopholes everywhere, and especially now with the laser development, if we put laser into the space and attack through laser weapons the facilities on the Earth, that would be an impossible situation.

So, all these kinds of things are done comprehensively and there is an attempt to discuss them in purely legal way in Geneva in the Committee on Disarmament. But of course bilateral discussions are still going on too.

And there are joined efforts, like the Russian and the Chinese effort, which are supported by the way by the major world powers like Brazil and India and all this kind of countries. And in a sense there is a hope that we might stop the negative developments of the American thinking.

Let's say that the fact that Obama is less aggressive in his space doctrine than Mr. Bush is a good factor which could be used for the purpose of international cooperation and joined developments, and not for really the development of national means which would allow them to dictate the rules of the game to the other countries.

Sir, thank you so much. And just to remind you our guest speaker was Gennady Yevstafyev - retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

Source: Voice of Russia

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