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Insight - Avoiding Conflict in Outer Space

6 May 2019, 00:00 UTC
Insight - Avoiding Conflict in Outer Space
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By Director of Program Planning, Brian Weeden, Washington Office Director, Victoria Samson, and Space Law Advisor, Chris Johnson
There is growing concern that outer space may soon become an arena for armed conflict. Although outer space has long been used to support military and intelligence activities, many fear that the increased use and reliance on space may mean it becomes an active part of future conflicts between space powers. If armed conflict was to extend into outer space, it is likely to have serious implications for global civil and commercial space activities and the long-term sustainability of space that last far beyond the conflict. As such, there needs to be a sharper focus on how to avoid armed conflict extending into space.
Although some of the rhetoric on space as a warfighting domain is overblown, there are legitimate concerns and troubling trends. As we documented in the 2019 version of our Global Counterspace Report, multiple countries are developing a wide range of counterspace capabilities and anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons. Although current use of these capabilities and weapons is limited to jamming, spoofing, cyber attacks, and other non-kinetic methods, research, development, and testing of destructive kinetic methods is continuing. In March, India ...

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