The space-based weapon U.S. intelligence believes Russia may be developing is more likely a nuclear-powered device to blind, jam or fry the electronics inside satellites than an explosive nuclear warhead to shoot them down, analysts said on Thursday.

The intelligence came to light on Wednesday after Representative Mike Turner, Republican chair of the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee, issued an unusual statement warning of a "serious national security threat."

A source briefed on the matter said that Washington had new intelligence related to Russian nuclear capabilities and attempts to develop a space-based weapon, but added that the new Russian capabilities did not pose an urgent threat to the United States. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed this view on Thursday, saying "this is not an active capability."