A Russian "big-eared" satellite tried to spy on a French vessel in an attempt to spy on military communications, the defense minister of France said today.
Florence Parly said the Athena-Fidus satellite, operated jointly with Italy, was approached "a little too closely" by Russia's Luch-Olymp, known for its advanced listening capabilities.
In what she said she ascended to & # 39; Star Wars & # 39; on Earth, she named the Russian satellite as Louch-Olymp.
The Franco-Italian satellite was launched in 2014 and is used for secure military communications and operations planning.
Parly said: "Trying to listen to your neighbor is not only unfriendly, it's called an act of espionage.
Florence Parly said the satellite Athena-Fidus (pictured), operated jointly by France and Italy, was approached "a little too closely" by Russia's Luch-Olymp.
& # 39; Approached. A little too close. So close that one could believe that he was trying to capture our communications. "
He added that this little Star Wars did not happen long ago in a galaxy far away. It happened a year ago, 36,000 kilometers above our heads.
The Russian satellite has "big ears" and is "well known, but a bit indiscreet," he said.
Without giving details, he said that France had taken "the necessary measures" and kept looking at the satellite with attention.
Parly was speaking at the Toulouse-based space agency in Toulouse that developed the Athena-Fidus satellite in conjunction with the Italian space agency ASI.
Last month, Washington accused Moscow of developing anti-satellite weapons and cited the "very abnormal behavior" of a "space object" deployed by Russia last October.
He also dismissed a treaty proposed by Russia and China to avoid a space arms race, calling it "empty and hypocritical."
"We are aware that other important players in space are deploying intriguing objects in orbit, experimenting with potential offensive capabilities, performing maneuvers that leave no room for doubt about their aggressive intent," said Parly.
In what she said she ascended to & # 39; Star Wars & # 39; on Earth, French Defense Minister Florence Parly (pictured in Paris last month) named the Russian satellite as Louch-Olymp
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to develop a "space defense strategy" for France, and Parly said experts were preparing recommendations he intended to transmit before the end of the year.
"We are at risk, our communications, our military maneuvers and our daily operations are at risk if we do not react," Parly said.
He highlighted President Donald Trump's call last month to create a new & # 39; Space Force & # 39; to affirm the dominion of the EE. UU In orbit and protect against the vulnerabilities of your satellite-based systems.
"I've heard some people laugh" about Trump's plan, Parly said, but "I'm not among them."
"I see this as an extremely powerful signal, one of the confrontations to come, of the growing importance of space, of future challenges," he said.
"We know that space is being militarized, we are not going to wait and see."