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SPACE WARFARE AND DEFENSE


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SPACE WARFARE AND DEFENSE


This year marks the 30-year anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. Due to the Defense Department's successful use of space-based capabilities during the conflict, many experts consider Desert Storm to have been the first space war.


Space Force Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, deputy chief of Space Operations, today discussed the role the space domain played during conflicts and how that technology has evolved over the last 30 years at a Brookings Institution event.


The biggest change since Desert Storm is that the space domain is no longer a benign environment, he said. Adversaries realize that they cannot take on the U.S. military in direct combat, so they've decided to use space as a low-cost way to gain an asymmetric advantage.


"Now, we have a space force that's focused every day on making sure that we can protect and defend and use the space domain the way we need to, both militarily or commercially and civilly to meet our national interests," he said.


Space warfare is hypothetical combat in which one or more belligerents are situated in outer space. The scope of space warfare therefore includes ground-to-space warfare, such as attacking satellites from the Earth; space-to-space warfare, such as satellites attacking satellites; and space-to-ground warfare, such as satellites attacking Earth-based targets. Space warfare in fiction is thus sub-genre and theme of science fiction, where it is portrayed with a range of realism and plausibility.


As of 2023[update], no actual warfare is known to have taken place in space, though a number of tests and demonstrations have been performed. International treaties are in place that attempt to regulate conflicts in space and limit the installation of space weapon systems, especially nuclear weapons.


From 1985 to 2002 there was a United States Space Command, which in 2002 merged with the United States Strategic Command, leaving the United States Space Force (formerly Air Force Space Command until 2019) as the primary American military space force. The Russian Space Force, established on August 10, 1992, which became an independent section of the Russian military on June 1, 2001, was replaced by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces starting December 1, 2011, but was reestablished as a component of the Russian Aerospace Forces on August 1, 2015. In 2019 India conducted a test of the ASAT missile making it the fourth country with that capability. In April 2019, the Indian government established the Defence Space Agency, or DSA.


Early efforts to conduct space warfare were directed at space-to-space warfare, as ground-to-space systems were considered to be too slow and too isolated by Earth's atmosphere and gravity to be effective at the time. The history of active space warfare development goes back to the 1960s when the Soviet Union began the Almaz project, a project designed to give them the ability to do on-orbit inspections of satellites and destroy them if needed. Similar planning in the United States took the form of the Blue Gemini project, which consisted of modified Gemini capsules that would be able to deploy weapons and perform surveillance.


One early test of electronic space warfare, the so-called Starfish Prime test, took place in 1962, when the United States exploded a ground-launched nuclear weapon in space to test the effects of an electromagnetic pulse. The result was a deactivation of many then-orbiting satellites, both American and Soviet. The deleterious and unfocused effects of the EMP test led to the banning of nuclear weapons in space in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. (See high-altitude nuclear explosion.)


Through the 1970s, the Soviet Union continued their project and test-fired a cannon to test space station defense. This was considered too dangerous to do with a crew on board, however, so the test was conducted after the crew had returned to Earth.


Both the Soviets and the United States developed anti-satellite weaponry designed to sho




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