MAJOR: Roscosmos develops method of making satellites ‘invisible’

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MOSCOW – Roscosmos Corporation has patented a method of camouflaging space devices that make them invisible to optical surveillance equipment.

The issuance of the patent of the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos was registered with the Federal Intellectual Property Office.

“The invention relates to concealment or camouflage methods and can be used to reduce the possibility of detection of the space apparatus in the visible spectrum,” according to the description of the invention.

The satellites would be covered with a special air-bubble film that scatters light. In this way, light reflects off the bubbles and scatters, decreasing the visibility of the object from the earth more than ten times.

These are space devices that are in orbits 10-20,000 kilometers high. At this altitude the radar surveillance means become less effective and therefore optical surveillance means are used, which can take images of objects in space at altitudes of 150 to 36,000 kilometers and allow viewing space debris larger than 20 centimeters.

As director of the Space Policy Institute Ivan Moiseev said, the creation of satellite camouflage can be used for military purposes .

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“The satellite protection program from outside influence and its concealment was being developed in the 1990s in the US. It is not known how it ended,” the director said.

Meanwhile, last year Paris announced it would spend $3.6 billion euros to renovate military satellites because of security concerns.

Paris plans to develop anti-satellite weapons, but points out that it will only be used for self-defense purposes, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Thursday, announcing a new military strategy for space forces.

“If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind our opponents,” she said. “We reserve the right and the means to respond: it could involve the use of powerful lasers deployed from our satellites or patrol nano-satellites.”

The issue sparked controversy after India successfully tested its new anti-satellite missile earlier this year, hitting an extinct Indian satellite at an altitude of 300 kilometers. Indian Prime Minister Modi added that the country became the fourth country in the world to have such a weapon after China, Russia and the United States.

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