Space Weapons Can’t Be Ignored by Private Industry  | Space

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New weapons that threaten assets in space aren’t just a response to the recent success of the space industry, or an opportunity to win government contracts—they’re also a threat to the way business is done in orbit.

Primary source: Annual open-source reports from the Secure World Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies released this month detail the development of weapons that can threaten assets in space, from electronic warfare to kinetic weapons.

The number of countries included in the report has doubled since it was first published in 2018. This year’s roundup of 12 countries includes Israel for the first time after it performed the first space-based interception of a ballistic missile fired from Yemen.

Every military is planning to either disrupt [Global Navigation Satellite Systems] in a conflict or operate without it in a conflict,” SWF’s Brian Weeden said. “I’m not sure that civilian commercial users are ready for that.”

Duel use: Commercial satellite operators used by the US military and its allies for communications and reconnaissance have been targets for hacking, jamming, and spoofing, particularly by Russia during the conflict in Ukraine. The military wants more commercial capability, not less, but it’s still not clear what happens if private assets are damaged in a conflict.

“Even though it’s become more obvious, this is not new,” SWF’s Victoria Samson said at a panel on the reports yesterday, noting that commercial satellites provided the vast majority of DoD comms during the conflict in Afghanistan. “We should have solved it by now.”

The DoD’s first commercial space integration strategy released this month addresses the issue, with the Pentagon committing to “evaluate gaps in protection from commercial insurance providers, the conditions under which US government-provided insurance would be needed for the space domain, and whether those conditions have been met.”

And even spacecraft…

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