12 February 2016
Space is becoming increasingly vital to national security with space systems – satellites and spacecraft in orbit, ground stations, and communication systems – vulnerable to a range of cyber threats that may neutralise these assets.
The United States, Russia, and China are currently spending billions for improving their satellite defences – primarily by building more capacity into their constellations and improving tracking abilities. In 2014, for example, Lockheed Martin was awarded a US$900 million contract to develop a radar system capable of tracking objects as small as baseballs in space in real time. Going forward, these and other countries will likely explore new ways to equip their satellites with active defences and countermeasures, such as jamming devices and the ability to evade both cyber and kinetic satellite interceptions.
The accelerating globalisation of space activities has intensified international competition and cooperation in the development of space-based capabilities. The 2011 unclassified version of the US National Security Space Strategy – the first national security space strategy co-signed by the secretary of defence and the director of national intelligence – points to three key trends shaping the current and emerging space environment: “space is becoming increasingly congested, contested, and competitive”.
… Michael Raska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 15/02/2016