The U.S. Space Force is set to launch a constellation of satellites this summer to track Chinese or Russian space vehicles that can potentially disable or damage orbiting objects, the latest step in the burgeoning extraterrestrial contest between superpowers.

Dubbed "Silent Barker,” the network would be the first of its kind to complement ground-based sensors and low-earth orbit satellites, according to the Space Force and analysts. The satellites will be placed about 22,000 miles (35,400 kilometers) above the Earth and at the same speed it rotates, known as geosynchronous orbit.

"This capability enables indications and warnings of threats” against high-value U.S. systems and will "provide capabilities to search, detect and track objects from space for timely threat detection,” the Space Force, which is developing the satellites with the National Reconnaissance Office, said in a statement.