RUSSIA has launched another of its secretive spy satellites designed to silently track nukes fired from the US.
Hurled into orbit from a launchpad in northeast Russia, the probe can detect long-range missiles the moment they launch and record their progress across the sky.
It's the third such satellite to be deployed by Russia since 2015 as part of plans to build a network of warhead-tracking space tech.
The satellite sailed beyond our atmosphere atop a Soyuz rocket launched from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Thursday.
A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry did not identify the top-secret payload.
However, information about the mission's trajectory released in warning notices to pilots and mariners suggested the satellite was likely the third Tundra missile warning satellite for the Russian military, reports SpaceFlightNow.
Little is known about the Tundra satellite system, as Moscow keeps it tightly under wraps.
It forms a key part of its military's defense tech, and replaces an older missile detection system known as Oko, which Russia inherited from the Soviet Union.
Tundra primarily acts as an early warning system so Russian officials can react to potential threats quickly.
Each satellite carries infrared telescopes that detect and track heat sources that could be missiles.
The United States has a similar missile detecting system called the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
Both tools are far better at tracking the flight paths of missiles than ground-based radar systems.
This is especially handy to officials as they scramble to figure out what a weapon's target is.
According to RKK Energia, the Russian companies that builds Tundras, each satellite can detect targets up to 600 miles above Earth's surface.
Terrifying space weapons of the future
Here are three of the scariest …
Rods from God
- A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
- Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
- These would be made out of tungsten – a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.
- One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
- Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon – but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
- As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.
Molten metal cannons
- This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
- This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
- The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.
Space force ships
- Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
- The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
- It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
- Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.
That's considerably higher than most ballistic missiles fly.
Detectable targets included hypersonic vehicles, strategic bombers, low-orbit satellites and rogue space junk.
A fire on Earth could be picked out in 25 seconds, according to the company.
The first two Tundra satellites were launched in November 2015 and May 2017. It's believed Russia will launch as many as 80 in total.
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In other news, a horror simulation released last week showed how nuclear war between the US and Russia would kill 34million people within 45 minutes.
Such a war would would blot out the Sun for a decade, according to experts who last month envisioned the apocalyptic aftermath of World War 3.
And while we're on the theme of apocalypse, here's all the enormous doomsday asteroids Nasa thinks might crash into Earth.
Are you worried about nuclear war? Let us know in the comments!
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