Thursday, March 06, 2008

Scientific American on the militarization of space

"Space Wars - Coming to the Sky Near You?"

A recent shift in U.S. military strategy and provocative actions by china threaten to ignite a new arms race in space. But would placing weapons in space be in anyone's national interest?

  • Although the “high ground” of outer space seems to offer clear military advantages, nations have so far resisted placing weapons into Earth orbit. That strategic forbearance may be changing.
  • The National Space Policy adopted by the U.S. in 2006 seemed to open the way to the further militarization of space. Soon afterward, China tested a ground-based antisatellite missile.
  • But space weaponry could trigger a costly international arms race. Satellites and space weapons will remain vulnerable to attack no matter what defenses are mounted.
  • And space warfare, or even “live” tests of the weapons, could create so much space debris that Earth orbit would become unnavigable to civilian satellites and crewed spacecraft.
Read on ...

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