Russian aerospace forces conducted test earlier this month of a new anti-satellite weapon system. Once it works, the weapon would be capable of targeting American military satellites, disrupting the Pentagon’s satellites for navigation and communications.

The test, conducted on December 16, was the fifth test of the PL-19 Nudol, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The test did not involve an intercept and may have just been to test the capabilities of the lofting rocket instead.

Moscow claims the Nudol is an anti-missile system that engages enemy warheads in the so-called “midcourse phase” after separating from the missile booster needed to reach low-earth orbit. Of course, that’s also where satellites are.

An anti-satellite weapon such as the Nudol could strip away high-flying American satellites.

An anti-missile system, like the one in the image up above, can be used to target satellites with relative ease. In 2008 , the USA-193, a malfunctioning American spy satellite, was shot down from a decaying low-earth orbit by a SM-3 missile launched by the USS Lake Erie. Like Russia’s Nudol, the SM-3 is also a “midcourse phase” interceptor missile.

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Image courtesy of Getty