Russia Claims Mysterious Space Firm Is Launching Satellites That Could Deliver Pinpoint Strikes on Enemies

A mysterious Russian private space firm is planning to create a satellite constellation that promises to "make it possible to get images of the battlefield for delivering pinpointed strikes against the potential enemy," Russia's state-run news agency Tass has reported.

Tass claims to have obtained a copy of a presentation by a company called Success Rockets, which at the time of publication has just two followers on Twitter and fewer than 100 fans on Facebook.

The presentation sets out plans to build and launch a trio of satellite constellations, comprising 558 satellites in total. Two of the constellations will comprise 24 satellites each, with the third, described as an "orbital cluster for global internet access," incorporating 510 satellites.

This constellation will "provide unlimited access to the World Wide Web in any point on the Earth and in any weather upon the availability of a subscriber terminal," the presentation reportedly says.

Of the other two satellite clusters, the presentation says: "One of them will provide the global internet of things, monitor the state of infrastructure and its particular components, track mobile objects (ships, auto convoys and railway trains) and serve other goals. The other cluster will be designated for the Earth's remote sensing."

The most eye-catching part of the Tass report is the claim that one of the aims of Success Rockets' constellations is to "make it possible to get images of the battlefield for delivering pinpointed strikes against the potential enemy, assess the activity of airports, terminal stations and logistics companies."

The report adds that the satellites will also "provide a possibility to forecast the environmental situation, get information on pollution to exercise control of enterprises' activity and track wildfires, snow avalanches, volcano eruptions and floods in real time and monitor the Earth's ozone layer," as well as "interact with various Smart City systems," "help in urban planning and construction monitoring" and "come in handy in agriculture ... to help identify the boundaries of fields and garden farms, as well as grades of crops on the fields."

Little is known about Success Rocket, beyond what is written in Tass' report. On its website, the business describes itself as a "private Russian company that creates conditions for sustainable space exploration, guided in its activities by environmental safety, social responsibility and economic feasibility."

However, the site mentions a presentation that was scheduled for October 19. The event's description reads (via Google Translate): "63 years ago, humanity entered the Space Age. Its beginning was marked by the first space race, the main active participants in which were two superpowers.

"Years later, we are witnessing the second space race, the main actors of which are private companies. We know a lot about American, European and Chinese companies, but who is the subject in Russia and what work is being done in this direction?

"How are digital transformation and the new space race related? How can space technology protect humanity and improve the quality of life? And why is it important to invest in Russian private space projects?"

Solar eclipse sky above Nizhny Novgorod
This file picture shows the sun blocked during an eclipse, in Nizhny Novgorod on August 1, 2008. A Russian space firm is reportedly planning to launch more than 500 satellites into space. Mikhail Mordasov/AFP via Getty Images