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Space War: Spooky?

Everybody agrees that it’s getting easier for lower-tech countries and terrorist groups to hop into space — and maybe even mess with American satellites. The question is: will they?
rocket.jpg“More countries than ever now have launch-to-orbit capabilities, which increases the possibility of rogue nations placing antisatellite payloads in space to attack U.S. orbiters,” Signal magazine darkly warns, summing up a recent Air Force report. “And, some emerging technologies offer the potential of empowering terrorists with inexpensive antisatellite [ASAT] measures that could remove vital U.S. orbital assets from the battlespace.“
Potential, maybe. But the Wonk Daddy thinks that potential is pretty damn small. The Air Force is suffering from a collective case of “lazy technological determinism,” he says — Marx in orbit, basically. The Air Force is avoiding the “thorny empirical questions,” Dr. J notes, “like why have spacefaring states largely refrained from developing ASATs?”

The last non-US ASAT test was more than twenty years ago by an adversary — the Soviet Union — that no longer exists.
[The Air Force] does give one example… of a non-spacefaring state (Iran) engaging in some pretty amateur jamming (that we stopped). Otherwise — and I haven’t seen the report itself, yet — “the law of development of human history,” to quote Engels, does the heavy lifting.
So, why no foreign ASATS? Instead of assuming that states will build ASATs for the same reason dogs lick themselves, perhaps the benefits derived from the peaceful use of space are an incentive for cooperation — an incentive we might wish to reinforce.

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