The Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom has unveiled its space defence policy, which presents the ominous prospect of a “exo-atmospheric nuclear attack.” Nevertheless, the text provides few real ideas for dealing with such a scenario.
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The United Kingdom’s ‘Defence Space Strategy,’ published on Tuesday, depicts space as a prospective future battleground, loaded with threats spanning from cyber strikes and anti-satellite blinding lasers to a “Exo-atmospheric Nuclear Attack.”
According to the source, such a strike, probably conducted from a satellite in orbit, would indeed be a “permanent kill event.” It does not, however, go into detail about the possibility of such a strike, if Britain’s rivals have such capacities, and what the phrase “permanent kill event” implies.
Similarly, the paper makes no mention of how to deal with such a situation, apart from promising to “understand, design, and field technologies to protect and defend UK interests” in the case of a space-based conflict.
Alternatively, it outlines how the UK intends to engage in space-based reconnaissance, including spending upwards of £5 billion ($6.8 billion) on ‘Skynet’ surveillance satellites and increasing its participation in the US-led ‘Olympic Defender’ space defence programme.
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The research arrives four months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the UK’s National Space Strategy, which “cements the UK’s ambition to become Europe’s leading provider of commercial small satellite launches by 2030,” according to the administration. Johnson lauded the strategy’s announcement as a breakthrough toward a “galactic Britain,” but critics condemned him of using “classic bluster” to divert attention away from domestic difficulties.
The recent assessment labels Russia and China as “international threats,” referencing both countries’ recent anti-satellite missile tests. The report singled out Russia in particular for leaving trails of space junk behind following an experiment the year before. Comparable tests, however, have been conducted by the US since the 1980s and by India in 2019, with neither being acknowledged in the MoD’s assessment.
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