On July 23, 2020, the United States Space Command Public Affairs Office released information claiming that on July 15, Russia “injected a new object [Object 45915] into orbit from Cosmos 2543” and “released this object in proximity to another Russian satellite.”
As part of a wider research project that is mapping the normative landscape in outer space with the aim of informing the further development of norms related to space-based military capabilities and activities, we invited global space experts to participate in a survey that was open from May 15 to June 10.
On June 18, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released a public summary of its updated Defense Space Strategy. Making public the military’s approach to space is a critical transparency and confidence-building measure (TCBM), enhancing the security of the space environment for all actors. As many states fail to provide such information, the United States should be applauded for this …
The security of outer space is a cooperative endeavor to achieve a shared benefit. Yet, while cooperation is essential for space security, it is often fraught. This chapter examines the logic for cooperation as an approach to space security, including supportive governance mechanisms, and traces the impetus and evolution of such efforts over time, marked by struggle to overcome strategic competition.
Even during a global pandemic, humans continue their journey back to the Moon. On May 30, the SpaceX Dragon Crew spacecraft, propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, carried two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Years behind schedule, the first crewed launch of a private space vehicle was still a triumph.
The new Netflix parody series Space Force, starring Steve Carell, is currently #1 on the platform in Canada. We at Project Ploughshares are watching, too. On June 2, with our colleagues from the Centre for Peace Advancement, we hosted an online social event to watch the first episode. Inspired by U.S. President Trump’s call in 2018 to establish a Space …
How do we think that this body of rules and accepted behaviours and attitudes—this normative landscape—can be strengthened and extended to fill in critical gaps, particularly in relation to military and security activities? What tools would encourage responsible behaviour to become the norm? What would a future governed by the best possible assembly of norms look like?
The number of threats to the security of outer space is growing. Reports on global counter-space capabilities released at the end of March by the Secure World Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies indicate that the range of capabilities that can interfere with and even destroy satellites is increasing, as is covert on-orbit activity. New initiatives such as the U.S. Space …
The history of arms control in outer space reads like a success story. Outer space is one of the few domains of human activity in which the focus has been on prevention. Although military satellites that provide communications, remote sensing, navigation, and timing services once dominated space and continue to provide essential military services, their operations have long been considered peaceful. Those of us working in space security say that space is “militarized but not weaponized.”
Outer space now provides vast social, scientific, and economic benefits to humanity, but the continued enjoyment of these benefits is anything but guaranteed. As the number of space users and applications has increased, so too have the threats to its long-term sustainability.