Orbiting our planet are thousands of satellites that support military operations as well as critical civilian and commercial infrastructures that provide essential services for humans all over the world. These satellites are unprotected and can be seriously damaged by even the smallest piece of orbital shrapnel or debris. And in space, the danger is ongoing, because the debris stays in orbit.
The following response to the Canadian consultation on a framework for future space exploration is submitted by Project Ploughshares, a Canadian peace research institute with a focus on disarmament efforts and international security. Project Ploughshares has been engaged in space security and international policy governance for almost 20 years and leads the Space Security Index project.
This map is a visualization of the existing normative landscape in outer space. Created from detailed coding of 90 space governance documents and additional expert feedback from an online survey and global series of workshops, it identifies the prevailing values, documented activities, and prescribed behaviours that currently influence practices in space.
In November 2020, global space experts were invited to participate in a series of regional online workshops to identify priorities and possible next steps in the development of norms related to space-based military capabilities and activities.
More states are preparing for war in outer space. The result could be accelerated, intensified conflict; environmental destruction; and nuclear winter. Even if we avoid the ultimate catastrophe, the consequences of war in space are serious. The destruction of space systems would harm every human on Earth. We must start working to protect civilians on Earth from such a fate.
In this video, Senior Researcher Jessica West presents work conducted as part of a project funded by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) Mobilizing Insights in National Defence (MINDS) …
On September 28, Ploughshares Senior Researchers Jessica West and Branka Marijan participated in an online panel on the future of peace and conflict hosted by the Balsillie School of International …
What if space has already been weaponized? This is the claim of the United States military. Following the official establishment of the Space Force in January 2020, a new Defense Space Strategy published in June presents a strategy for “winning wars” in a domain that it depicts as “weaponized” by Russia and China. Russia and China have made similar accusations against the United States.
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.