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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.