LeoLabs Discovers Abnormal Movement of “Dead” Russian Satellite

Over the last couple of years, LeoLabs have tracked Russian satellites, Resurs-P3 and Cosmos-2562, performing operations and maneuvers after they were presumably deemed “dead” satellites that were not in use. Both these Russian satellites sit in low Earth orbit. The maneuver on Resurs-P3 was performed at the end of 2022 and put the spacecraft in a new orbit trajectory. The maneuver put it in a rendezvous orbit with Cosomos-2562. LeoLabs has theorized that because of the nature of the movements, it’s likely that Cosmos-2562 has collected imagery data from Resurs-P3.

LeoLabs has stated that the main issue in this case is deeming satellites operations too quickly. They say that even though Resurs-P3 was deemed to be an inoperative satellite, in the world’s eyes a “dead” satellite, the strange behaviors shows that this was not the case but instead it had some advanced capabilities. At the very least it was able to be commanded and controlled. It’s also theorized that Cosmos-2562 payload is an electro optical sensor that examine other satellite payloads for jamming and analysis purposes. This is a cause of concern for the United States military to be on the lookout for inspector satellites. Events such as this test show the importance of space awareness and satellite tracking. It also shows the need for more advanced technology to prohibit payload jamming or analysis. Finally, satellites such as these can also carry cyber implications as spy satellites have already been caught lurking near commercial and military space assets, these same missions can use cyber from dead spacecrafts to cause havoc on US space networks.

Article: https://spacenews.com/leolabs-data-shows-on-orbit-maneuvers-by-russian-satellites/