Anti-satellite capabilities could threaten key constellations

With Earth orbit a potential battlespace of the future and the proliferation of satellite constellations presenting more potential targets than ever before, a range of capabilities have been or are being developed by space-faring countries terrestrial tensions could be mirrored in space

From rumoured Russian 100kW space-based lasers to dual-use servicing spacecraft that can de-orbit a satellite, the technologies to disable an adversary’s assets circling Earth continue to advance and offer a new, but potentially risky, method to influence the battlespace.

Strategic Defense Initiative
An artist's concept of a Strategic Defense Initiative space-based laser attacking another satellite. US DOD

From the low-altitude Earth orbit of a few hundred miles to the heights of a geostationary trajectory tens of thousands of miles above, the spacecraft that inhabit this realm – from telecommunications to observation and navigation global positioning systems – all have a key role to play in terrestrial and airborne warfare.

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