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Anti-satellite weapons will proliferate

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Subject

Anti-satellite weapons.

Significance

The United States, Russia and China have for decades taken advantage of the ambiguities afforded by dual-use space technologies to develop systems with the potential for use as anti-satellite weapons, even while claiming not to ‘weaponise’ space. However, this has been an incremental process, without the scale, speed and level of priority that ‘arms race’ implies.

Impacts

  • ‘Counterspace’ capabilities will focus on degrading rather than denying an adversary’s use of space systems.
  • US opposition and the dual-use nature of many relevant technologies will thwart ongoing international efforts to ban space weapons.
  • Iran and North Korea are far from developing anti-satellite weapons; European countries show no interest in it.
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