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An image of the Earth taken from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Russia conducted a test of an in-space anti-satellite weapon last week, according to U.S. Space Command statement released Thursday.

Why it matters: The test didn't destroy a satellite, but the Pentagon is pointing to it as evidence of a troubling trend by Russia that has escalated tensions in orbit.

  • The test took place on July 15 when the satellite Cosmos 2543 fired an object not far from another Russian satellite.
  • Before the test, the satellite system was flying near a powerful U.S. spy satellite.
  • "This is further evidence of Russia's continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems, and consistent with the Kremlin's published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk," Gen. John Raymond, Space Force Chief of Space Operations said in the statement.

The backdrop: This test comes after another Russian anti-satellite test in April, which involved a different kind of weapon launched from the ground.

The big picture: Countries that are able to operate these anti-satellite systems have refrained from using them against their enemies, but experts stress if that changes in the future, it's not just national assets on the line.

  • The debris created by anti-satellite tests can make wide parts of orbit unusable for all nations, not just those targeted.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 20, 2020 - Science

The next environmental crisis could be in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An unexpected frontier is facing calls for new environmental regulations and cleanup: outer space.

Why it matters: Space junk clutters up orbits and poses an urgent threat to weather, security, communications and other satellites. Long-term, you can’t live or work in space if trash is literally slamming into you.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

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