Outer space is an environment that has long fascinated mankind, who has from the dawn of time, tried t interpret its significance for us mortals down below. The recent years have seen not only scientific and astronomical success in investigating outer space but also a remarkable growth in its utilizati0n for a wide range of civilian and military purposes. Today it is estimated that there are some 1,000 satellites in operation owned by over 60 countries. Importantly no longer is exploitation of outer space the preserve of a small group of advanced industrialized countries. A dozen countries currently have the capacity to place a object into orbit and an even larger number of own and/or operate satellites. The developing countries besides the developed ones are increasingly found to be possessing satellites and practically every country is a consumer of space-based services in some form or the other. A vast array of functions from remote sensing of ecological and weather activity to communication and navigation services is being performed via space-based assets. These assets have not till now been threatened from space or the ground and have been able to operate freely. This condition in turn reflects the status of outer space as a global commons the province of all mankind the use of which shall be for peaceful purposes and carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries. Even as space has been explored extensively for peaceful and commercial purposes for the benefit of all across the globe the military planners on the other hand are focused on militarizati0n and weaponization of space to establish their supremacy over the other military users of space. It is not only missiles that can traverse outer space or satellites that can spot targets and guide the missiles but weapons could be permanently placed outside the Earth’s atmosphere and then on a signal from the earth bombard target bases and cities. These two uses of outer space one for the peaceful purpose of benefits for humans and the other as a venue for war and synchronized killings coexist. That’s the paradox of today’s world, where peace comes from deterrence and weaponisati0n and even outer space God’s sole preserve has not been left out. The focus of this article is to give a overview of the weaponization and militarization of outer space.
MISSILE DEFENCE: THE PRELUDE TO SPACE-BASED WEAPONS
The main military utilization of space was the advancement of InterContinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The second was the protective framework intended to stop them. Taking everything int account quite a bit of it created for ground-based rocket safeguard is being abused to plan rocket protection dispatched from space and is additionally relevant to space weaponisation. The idea of a rocket guard framework depends on when and where t wreck the adversary rockets on their flight way to the planned objective.
one potential methods for safeguard is to pulverize the foe’s rocket locales at the dispatch site before the rockets are dispatched. This requires space satellites to distinguish the destinations. The conceivable threat in such an alternative, where a rocket (undoubtedly with an atomic warhead) is demolished in the adversary’s own domain is that the foe would in most probability fight back with its leftover rockets. Another alternative could be devastation of adversary rockets in the lift stage which appears to be a functional choice in light of the fact that the overall speed of the rocket in the lift stage being moderate the rocket would not yet have the chance to mask its trip through misleading distractions. In any case the difficulties of halting a rocket assault during the lift stage are imposing. Initially a lift stage assault would require the starting arrangement of the rocket guard to be near the region of dispatch so the counter rocket could arrive at the rocket while it was as yet in the environment. It is unimaginable to expect to keep land or boat-based rocket protection so near the adversary’s dispatch site for clear reasons. on the off chance that the rocket protection framework is orbital with satellites surrounding the earth roughly like clockwork it would require a colossal number of satellites to guarantee that at any rate one satellite was adequately close to hit the rocket in the lift stage. The expense 0f such a framework would be restrictive. No nation has yet had the option to build up a viable help stage protecti0n. Ending an atomic furnished rocket as it homes downward on its objective at multiple times the speed of sound in the terminal stage doesn’t appear to be reasonable on the grounds that in case of the rocket really being hit the blast would rain decimation on the land being shieled.
CONCEPT OF WEAPONISATION OF SPACE
The concept for space weaponisation came up in the early 1980s through the strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) also known as the Star Wars programme of the United States. The idea was to put a large number of satellites into orbit that would detect the launch of enemy missiles and then shoot them down. This space-based anti-missile defence was conceived n0t as a substitute for ground-based defence but as part of the concept of multilayered defence which also included sea-based interceptors that are carried onboard ships and the ground-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) the system designed for the engagement of the short and medium-range missiles. Essentially, the idea was to form a protective shield against possible missile attacks carrying nuclear warheads. Like any other air defence system the space-based system is prescribed to comprise sensors to detect and track the enemy missile from its very launch and the kill weapons that would destroy it along with the associated command and control elements. Development was undertaken of space-based sensors onboard satellites for surveillance detection and tracking of enemy missiles and space-based laser weapons and interceptors for their destruction. The multi-layered approach envisioned engagement of enemy missiles by ground and sea-based weapons as a last resort if the space-based weapons miss their targets.
Why Militarization and Weaponisation of Space?
The militarizati0n and weaponisation of space are fundamentally at odds with constructive commercial and scientific projects. The war in space would destroy the intrinsic trust and cooperati0n necessary to maintain the systems deployed in space for peaceful purposes. Despite these facts, the development projects for militarization and weaponisation of outer space have been on the increase with the aim of one country achieving military dominance over the other in outer space. The desire to establish military supremacy in outer space emerges out of two basic apprehensions firstly lack of faith in the present missile defence system to stall an incoming ICBM armed with a nuclear warhead and secondly to preserve own satellites in space against other Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons. Besides these two reasons the deployment of weapons in space would also give supremacy to a country in the conduct of war over the land sea and air.
OUTER SPACE AS A THEATRE FOR POTENTIAL CONFLICT
The progressive development of the space sector brings forth as a natural consequence the growth of its strategic importance. Every year we launch more and more satellites into the orbit. They are part of communication navigati0n, reconnaissance or security systems which are used more and more and play an increasingly important role in the economy and security. Among many examples one may point to the already mentioned Prompt Global Strike guidance system the European Galileo navigation system or Star link a constellation of satellites, which is expected to provide broadband internet for the entire globe and consist of approximately 42,000 satellites (Space has already obtained a permission to launch 12,000 satellites and in 0ctober 2019 the company asked the International Telecommunication Union to arrange spectrum for 30,000 new 0nes) (Henry, 2019).
on the other hand there is a growing threat of the democratization of weapons capable of destroying satellite systems. According to the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment 0f the US Intelligence Community describes the space threat as one of the most significant ones (Coats 2018). ASAT The anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are currently in possession of four countries the United States, Russia, China and more recently India. However it is reported that other nation states have the potential to develop direct-ascent (DA) ASAT systems on the basis of their ballistic missiles e.g. Iran and North Korea10 and some believe that Israel’s Arrow 3 missile has been developed to gain such a capability (opall-Rome 2009). There are many indications that this technology will eventually also be available to traditionally weak actors who will acquire it through purchase or by developing their own systems. As it was already mentioned the space sector is growing by leaps and bounds.