Neil deGrasse Tyson ‘skeptical’ of threat posed by Russian anti-satellite capability development

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Neil deGrasse Tyson ‘skeptical’ of threat posed by Russian anti-satellite capability development

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said he is “skeptical” of the threat posed by the development of a Russian anti-satellite capability in a recent interview on CNN.

“[I]n terms of destroying another satellite, like I said, there [are] already ways to do that. There are these… what they call kinetic kills, where you can take a missile, no explosives necessary at all, because the satellite’s already moving 18,000 miles an hour,” Tyson said in the interview with CNN’s Abby Phillip.

“All you have to do is get in its way, and the thing explodes,” Tyson continued. “Russia’s done it, China’s done it, we’ve done it, India has done it. So… and then you can target the satellite at will. If you’re stuck in orbit, you might not be near a satellite that you wanna take out. You have to wait until the orbits line up… just seems so inefficient. So, I’m just skeptical of how dangerous this thing can be, relative to everyone’s emotions attached to it.”

Russia is possibly getting ready to deploy a nuclear weapon in space that could pose a risk to other satellites, but it is not clear what exactly the weapon is. The threat of the potential deployment came to prominence on Wednesday after House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) put out a statement in which he called on the Biden administration to declassify information relating to a “national security threat.”

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Thursday that the Russian threat was known about by Congress for “weeks.”

“This is a matter that we’ve known about for a few weeks. We requested a meeting with the president. I did — we did, in writing in January,” Johnson said at a press conference.

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby also said Thursday that the anti-satellite capability wasn’t “active” or deployed yet, but called Russia’s pursuit of it “troubling.”

“We’re not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth,” Kirby said. 


Abby Phillip



John Kirby

Mike Johnson

Mike Turner

national security threat

Neil deGrasse Tyson

neil degrasse tyson

nuclear weapons


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