US Space Force says Russian satellites are following American satellite

(CNN) — Russian satellites have been exhibiting the “unusual and disturbing behavior” of following a US satellite in orbit, according to the commander of the Space Force, the newest military service.

“Last November the Russian government launched a satellite that subsequently released a second satellite,” US Space Command Commander and the Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said in a statement Monday.

“These satellites have been actively maneuvering near a U.S. government satellite and behaving similar to another set of satellites that Russia deployed in 2017, and which the Russian government characterized as ‘inspector satellites.'”

Raymond’s comments mark the first substantive statement from the Space Force and come as the US has become increasingly concerned about what adversaries are doing in space — one of the reasons why the US launched the new military branch, the first new military service since 1947, in December. The Trump administration requested $18 billion for the Space Force and other space activities on Monday as part of its Pentagon budget.

TIME Magazine first reported the announcement.

The Russian satellite in question released a second satellite in December, according to the state-run TASS news agency.

“The purpose of the experiment is to continue work on assessing the technical condition of domestic satellites,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement at the time.

Raymond said Monday that Russia’s recent actions place the county among nations that “have turned space into a warfighting domain.”

“Similar activities in any other domain would be interpreted as potentially threatening behavior,” Raymond said. “This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space. The United States finds these recent activities to be concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring nation.”

Raymond also noted that when the Russian satellites “exhibited characteristics of a weapon when one of those satellites released a high-speed projectile into space” after being deployed in 2017, the United States raised the issue during the United Nations Conference on Disarmament the following year.

Yleem D.S. Poblete, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, told the conference how a 2017 Russian satellite’s “behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities.”

“What Russia tells us diplomatically and publicly may be the opposite of what it intends to do with that satellite,” she said.


Subaru plans major expansion in Lafayette

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette has announced plans for a major expansion. The automaker says it will invest $158 million to diversify its manufacturing operations and create up to 350 jobs by the end of 2023. The 4.7 million-square-foot facility, which is Subaru’s only assembly plant in the U.S., produces the Legacy, Impreza, Outback and Ascent models, and employs more than 6,000 people in Tippecanoe County.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says SIA will build a new service parts facility on the 820-acre campus and expand its plant to add a transmission assembly shop. SIA says it is currently hiring for production positions at the plant.

“We’re proud to continue investing in Indiana,” Scott Brand, senior vice president of administration and quality at SIA, said in a news release. “We also appreciate the tremendous support these plans have received from the state, Tippecanoe County and the city of Lafayette. Our production levels have tripled over the past 10 years. These new projects are exciting growth opportunities to help us meet increasing customer demand.”

The expansion comes more than two years after SIA announced plans to invest $140 million to support the production of the Subaru Ascent and create up to 200 jobs. Late last year, SIA opened its $4.7 million Technical Training Center on the campus as well.

The IEDC plans to offer SIA up to nearly $2.3 million in conditional tax credits and up to $350,000 in training grants, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The incentives must still be approved by the IEDC Board of Directors. 

The city of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County plan to offer additional incentives.

“Today marks another important day in the relationship between SIA, Greater Lafayette and the state of Indiana,” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. “This significant investment represents the deep friendship, professional relationship and trust that we all share with each other. This investment will create new opportunities and new beginnings. It speaks well of the tremendous workforce of SIA and the confidence to find new associates to carry on that tradition of excellence. It shows confidence in local and state government to work together and in our local quality of life initiatives to make this a great place for people to live, work and play.”

SIA produces about 410,000 vehicles annually. The automaker has invested more than $2.2 billion in the plant since 1986.