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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Russia has staged a test of an anti-satellite weapons system that could take out spacecraft in low Earth orbit, according to a statement from U.S. Space Command today.

Why it matters: The move further escalates tensions between the U.S. and Russia when it comes to military uses of outer space.

What's happening: Not much about the test itself has been publicly disclosed, but a U.S. Space Command's Lt. Col. Christina Hoggatt said via email that they are not tracking any debris from the test at the moment.

  • Last year, a Russian satellite was also found to be shadowing a U.S. spy satellite.
  • "This test is further proof of Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting their counterspace weapons programs," Gen. John Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command, said in the statement.
  • Russia's test comes about a year after India launched a test of its own anti-satellite missile, which created hundreds of pieces of space junk by destroying its own satellite.

The big picture: Nations with the ability to launch anti-satellite missiles held back from using those capabilities against enemies, but experts are concerned that could change in the future.

  • A report from the Secure World Foundation released last month shows that nations around the world are making moves toward further militarization of space.
  • "Right now, there appears to be a norm against using kinetic capabilities, but I fear that could change, particularly in a future high-stakes conflict between a couple of space powers," Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation told Axios at the end of March.
  • Experts are particularly worried that future tests could create pieces of space junk that would make broad swaths of orbit unusable.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.