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Soviet satellite-killer looms large

Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine continues to insist that the Soviet Union has deployed an antisatellite battle station in low orbit, Monitor defense correspondent Stephen Webbe reports.

Identifying the killer satellite system as Cosmos 1,267, the magazine claims it is equipped with firing ports to eject ''clusters of interceptor vehicles that could destroy US spacecraft.''

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US officials assert that intelligence reports about the antisatellite weapon are ''very hard from a variety of sources and methods; harder than anything we've seen in a long time,'' the magazine claims.

''Aviation Week & Space Technology asserts that the 30,000-pound Cosmos 1,267 was launched from Tyuratam, in Soviet Central Asia, April 24 and has been docked to the Salyut 6 space station since June 19, ''ostensibly as a test of enlarging the Salyut station's capabilities.''

The Pentagon is concerned that spacecraft like Cosmos 1,267 will threaten US communications and missile early-warning spacecraft, the magazine adds.

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