Russia can blind Google Maps satellites using a laser

laser satellite

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also has effects on other battlefields far from that geography, from social networks where blockades by the Russian government on access to various platforms have occurred, to space itself.

Russian laser capable of blinding observation satellites is called Kalina

The advantage of high ground has always been highly esteemed, from a galaxy far, far away from the warlike confrontations on the surface of our planet. Hence the importance of air superiority and artificial satellites, ever since the Soviet Union placed Sputnik in Earth orbit on October 4, 1957.

Over the decades, what was once one of the most closely guarded secrets of the powerful nations is now in everyone’s pocket, and thanks to Google Maps, virtually every corner of the planet can be seen from a bird’s eye view. And in the event of a war scenario like the current one, with Russia invading Ukraine since last February, the information provided by satellite photographs is invaluable.

To prevent the capture of such images in Russia, they have developed a system that seems more typical of galactic movies because it is based on blinding the observation satellites by means of a laser called Kalina.

Located at the Krona space surveillance center, belonging to the Russian Ministry of Defense and located in the city of Zelenchukskaya, it consists of a 7.13-meter-diameter telescope equipped with a powerful laser connected to a LIDAR sensor installed in an annex building, and would be ready for operation in a short period of time. The telescope is capable of withstanding temperatures from 40º to -40º and withstands territories up to magnitude 7 on the Richter scale.

The mission of the LIDAR is the detection of satellites as well as the measurement of the distance to them with maximum precision in order to be able to aim the laser. In addition, radar data are used. The laser passes through different mirrors and finally hits the optical systems of the spy satellite or the photographic satellite, such as those of Google Maps, rendering it useless and preventing the capture of images of the Russian territory.

What is certain is that the Russian Ministry of Defense has been preparing this device since 2014although it has not been possible to have it previously due, among other causes, to problems derived from the importation of certain electronic components necessary for its construction. The first tests began in 2018 and although there is no concrete data it is estimated that there could be 5 active units.

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