While arms races and tensions in space may seem like they belonged in the 1960s, they are becoming widespread issues today.
Specifically, a space arms race is China, the US and Russia competing with each other and something like a shadow war in space has been heating up over the past few months.
An American general commented at the Halifax International Security Forum last month that threats to space are really growing.
“The threats are really growing and expanding every day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been going on over a long period of time … We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways in which our galaxy systems could be a threat, ”General David Thompson, the Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations, told a Washinton Post columnist.
Some of these types of threats have been making headlines over the past few months, as Russia and China showcasing their technology in space.
In November, Russia flexed its muscles and destroyed an old Soviet satellite with an anti-satellite missile, as BBC reported. This became even more problematic when debris from the destroyed satellite landed in the orbit of the International Space Station. Russia has been criticized by the US and UK for “dangerous and irresponsible” actions that “show complete disregard for security, safety and space maintenance.”
China has also demonstrated the technology of space weapons.
This past summer, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle in space. They put it on a rocket, flew it into low orbit space to orbit the globe, and then hit within about two dozen miles from its target, while the Arms Control Association reported.
Thompson confirmed that the Space Force faces attacks on U.S. government satellites “every single day.” Fortunately, these are what he calls “reversible attacks,” which means they don’t permanently damage satellites – at least for now.
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“Both China and Russia regularly attack U.S. satellites with non-kinetic means, including lasers, radio frequency jammers and cyber attacks,” Thompson said, according to the Washington Post.
Russia at China has long been concerned about the advancement of American space technology and weapons.
In 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin even proposed that the leading powers in space (Russia, the US and China) should agree to ban the “placement” of weapons in space and the “threat or use of force “against any object in space, the RAND Corporation reported.
This kind of proposal to prevent militarization in space is not new. Russia was making similar pitches back then 1980s, when they wanted to have a conference to talk about banning the “testing and deployment of weapons in space.”
“Both countries [Russia and China] shares a common desire to hinder U.S. technological excellence in developing advanced space capabilities, especially those that can be applied to missile defense or anti-satellite operations, ” RAND reported.
However, Russia and China have shown that they are getting their technology. The trials that are happening are a signal to the US
Even in 2019, Russia began to show the US that it was gaining the ability to threaten us space when it deployed a satellite uncomfortably near an American “national security satellite,” and then conducted a weapons test.
“It was maneuvering close, it was maneuvering dangerously, it was maneuvering with threat so that they were approaching enough with concern in the collision. So clearly, the Russians are sending us a message,” Thompson told the Post.
But he also pointed out that China is really ahead of Russia.
“The Chinese are really ahead [of Russia]. They’re putting operating systems at an incredible rate, ”Thompson said.
So it turns out that former President Donald Trump’s establishment of the U.S. Space Force is actually quite insightful, as space war heats up.
At the time, many criticized magkatakataThe establishment of a new military branch due to being too expensive. The new branch needs $ 15.4 billion for 2021, coming from the Air Force budget, the Federal News Network reported.
But Trump deserves some credit for knowing that arming the galaxy will be an increasing issue.
“The galaxy is the newest war -fighting domain in the world. In the midst of severe threats to our national security, America’s superiority in space is extremely important. And we’re leading, but we’re not leading enough. But soon we will be ahead of many, ”Trump said in 2019, as NPR reported.
So, fortunate for the US, our military is able to continue to develop technology to counter any threat to the Russian and Chinese space.
“We’re still the best in the world, clear in terms of capability. They’re catching up fast,” Thompson told the Post. “We have to worry by the end of this decade if we don’t fit.”
This article originally appeared on The Western Journal.
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