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U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable

U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable, Space News, by Sandra Erwin — September 17, 2021 A ship in the Pacific Ocean carrying a high-power laser takes aim at a U.S. spy satellite, blinding its sensors and denying the United States critical eyes in the sky.

This is one scenario that military officials and civilian leaders fear could lead to escalation and wider conflict as rival nations like China and Russia step up development and deployments of anti-satellite weapons.

If a satellite came under attack, depending on the circumstances, “the appropriate measures can be taken,” said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.

The space battlefield is not science fiction and anti-satellite weapons are going to be a reality in future armed conflicts, Shaw said at the recent 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Space Command is responsible for military operations in the space domain, which starts at the Kármán line, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This puts Space Command in charge of protecting U.S. satellites from attacks and figuring out how to respond if hostile acts do occur…………

A key reason why the space race is accelerating is that technology is advancing so rapidly, Smith said. A second reason is the absence of “binding commitments on what the operating norms are going to be in space,” she said. “And without that, we’re very likely to have a space war.”

The only foundation of international space law that currently exists, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, is outdated and doesn’t address most space security issues that could set off a war, Smith noted.

The treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies and contains legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. But a new set of rules is needed for the current space age, Smith said. “We really haven’t addressed some of the very difficult questions. Can a nation tailgate another nation’s satellite? Is preemptive self defense going to be permissible? Are we going to ban any form of weapons in space?”…….

September 18, 2021 - Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war

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