The commercialization and militarization of space is a story we’ve been following for some time, and recently, there’s been an uptick in activity around the world, and in space.
Let’s start with China,
A recent Pentagon report highlights the PLA’s pursuit and development of counter-space capabilities, including kinetic-kill missiles, ground based lasers, orbiting space robots and surveillance technology which can monitor objects within their field of view and enable counter-space actions.
China has also built an expansive ground support infrastructure to support its growing on-orbit fleet and related functions including spacecraft - direct ascent, co-orbital, electronic warfare, and directed energy capabilities - that can contest or deny an adversary’s access to space during a crisis or conflict.
a Pentagon report
As threats to the sovereignty of space continue to escalate, governments around the world are working to stabilize the domain for commerce and exploration.
Another major driver we’re seeing today is the militarization and defense of space, and just look no further than the us with space forced and space command. You have to believe that if the us is saying, we are going to start spending significant more on we are going to build out our infrastructure, because we can’t afford to be last. You better believe every other country is listening to them and saying the exact same thing. because they don’t want to be left behind. In my mind, the countries that are building infrastructure today will be very well positioned for for the future, and no country wants to lose that race and the militarization of space could be a big driver of space revenues going forward.
Russia has also entered the theater with a space based non-destructive anti-satellite weapon. On July 15th, an object was fired into space from Cosmos 2543, which itself was described as birthing a smaller satellite dubbed Cosmos 2542. The same object spotted earlier this year, stalking the Pentagon’s Spy Sat USA 245.
The Kremlin has claimed the event involved a small space vehicle that "inspected one of the national satellites from a close distance using special equipment”, adding the “inspection” provided valuable information which it transmitted to ground control.
The US Space Force disputes this - stating it was a space weapon test.
General John "Jay" Raymond, said "This is further evidence of Russia's continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems and consistent with the Kremlin's published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold US and Allied space assets at risk."
Gen. Raymond added the US and its allies such as the UK were "ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the nation, our Allies and vital US interests from hostile acts in space".
In a space strategy document published last month, the Pentagon stated “China and Russia each have weaponized space as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.”
Lieutenant General Steven Kwast (Ret.) wasn’t as vague, saying, “If we allow China to have unilateral control of space, then we’ll have given them a multi-trillion-dollar market for delivering energy and information to the entire world — and we’ll have allowed them to build a weapon that can utterly obliterate us.”
While China and Russia make headlines, there are many countries quietly entering the domain with unique goals, priorities and policy.
The UAE, Japan, Australia, India, Canada, Israel and even Iran are just some of the emerging spacefaring nations, each with a possibility of building their own private sector supporting the effort.
All of them however, have the same strategic mindset.
With multi-trillion-dollar markets in energy, information, manufacturing, and transportation at stake, competition for the high ground could present the greatest risk America will ever face.
More on this in upcoming reports.