Report Outlines Trends and Developments in Space Security

Tasneem Jamal News, Space Security

A newly issued study provides a comprehensive source of data and analysis on space activities and their cumulative impact on the security of outer space.

Space Security 2010 is an appraisal released by the Space Security Index, an international research consortium that aims to improve transparency with respect to space activities and to support the development of national and international policies that contribute to space security.

The SSI project partners are Secure World Foundation (SWF), The Simons Foundation, Project Ploughshares, the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

Space Security 2010 was produced in collaboration with SWF, with financial support from The Simons Foundation, the International Security Research and Outreach Program at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and the Erin J.C Arsenault Trust Fund at McGill University.

“The Space Security Index has proven to be a valuable resource for our discussions of space security issues and the long-term sustainability of outer space in numerous forums,” said Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director of Secure World Foundation. “It is a unique source of information about civil, military, and commercial space activities. We support the SSI because it makes a difference,” he said.

Space Security 2010 is the seventh annual report on trends and developments in space, covering the period January to December 2009.

Roster of developments

Among a roster of developments covered in this just-issued SSI report:

  • The collision between two satellites – a commercial Iridium satellite with a defunct Russian spacecraft – in February 2009. The collision creating thousands of pieces of debris, most too small to be tracked with precision. While the incident is widely considered to have been an accident, it underscores the need for greater coordination between operators of space systems so that similar debris-causing events can be prevented in the future.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran’s successful launch of its first domestically made satellite, becoming the latest nation to design, build, and launch its own spacecraft. The launch generated intense scrutiny from some Western countries that expressed concerns about the peaceful nature of Iran’s space program, given the similarity in launch systems for satellites and ballistic missiles.
  • Deployment of military space systems, which continues to be led by the United States and Russia, has increased in other countries around the world as well. Space Security 2010 finds that there are currently over 160 operational dedicated military satellites worldwide, with the U.S. operating approximately 81, Russia 38, and China 12.

Space security regime

Space Security 2010 examines the different proposals under consideration for a space security regime and notes that, despite efforts to construct a robust regulatory framework for space activities, the international community has been unable to reach consensus on an overarching and legally binding space security treaty that reflects the current challenges facing an ever more complex domain.
The preliminary findings of Space Security 2010 were presented at the plenary session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna, and will be presented at other multilateral forums within the next year.

Space Security 2010 does not provide absolute positive or negative assessments of 2009 outer space activities. Instead, it indicates the range of implications that developments could have on the security of space across the various indicators and highlights the difficult challenges faced by policymakers.

Wide range of issues

Space Security 2010 covers the most salient issues that have affected space security in the past year,” said Cesar Jaramillo, Project Manager for the annually updated Space Security Index. “It encompasses several areas relevant to space activities and applications –which include, among others, policy development, the commercial space industry, civil space programs and space support for military operations- that allow readers to gain a well-informed, unbiased perspective on the current status of space security,” he added.

Reporters Note: Click here for access to the Space Security 2010 executive summary and the full report.

For further information contact:
Ray Williamson, Executive Director
Secure World Foundation
Email: rwilliamson@swfound.org
Phone: 303-554-1560

Cesar Jaramillo, SSI Project Manager
Project Ploughshares
Email: cjaramillo@ploughshares.ca
Phone: 519-888-6541 x 708

Space Security 2010

About the SSI Project Partners

Secure World Foundation (SWF) is headquartered in Superior, Colorado, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Austria. SWF is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples. The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to advocate for key space security and other space related topics and to examine their influence on governance and international development.

The Simons Foundation is a private charitable foundation based in Vancouver, Canada, with a clear mission focused on nuclear disarmament, human security and international law. The Foundation is actively engaged in promoting positive change through education in peace, disarmament, international law, and human rights, and also supports the local arts and cultural community in Vancouver.
In 1951, McGill University established the Institute of Air & Space Law (IASL) to provide graduate legal education for students from around the world. In the ensuing half century, IASL has educated some 800 students from 120 countries. Today, IASL graduates hold some of the highest positions in international organizations, governmental air transport ministries, airlines, and law firms around the world.

The International Security Research and Outreach Programme (ISROP) is part of the International Security Bureau of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. ISROP acts as a focal point for timely, high quality and policy-relevant research on international security and defense issues related to North American, regional and multilateral security and defense cooperation, non-proliferation (nuclear and non-nuclear), arms control and disarmament.

Founded in 1976 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, Project Ploughshares works with governments, churches, and civil society, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions aimed at preventing war and armed violence through advocacy and research. Project Ploughshares’ areas of work include supporting the non-weaponization of space, advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, controlling the global arms trade, and reducing reliance on the use of military force.

Space Security 2010. Waterloo, ON: Spacesecurity.org, August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-895722-78-9

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