Germany launches military ‘space command’ to tackle Russia and China

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Germany launches military ‘space command’ to tackle Russia and China


FACT BOX: ‘The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’ is a 1981 UN resolution that reaffirms the fundamental principles of the 1967 ‘Outer Space Treaty’ and bans the weaponisation of space. The USA recognises ‘space’ as 80 KM above the earth, whilst the international community uses 100 KM as the ‘space line’.

Germany has opened a new ‘space command’ today amid growing concerns over rapid Russian and Chinese military and technological advances as well as a substantial surge in satellite launches from the two super powers.

Whilst the COVID 19 pandemic distracted the world, the USA, France and UK have all spent the last 2 years establishing complex and hi-tech ‘space commands’. Military bodies who’s mission statement is focused entirely on space operations. Addressing what they see as threats from potentially hostile nations’ satellites and technologies.

EU, UK and US military sources claim Russia and China are technologically capable of waging a war in space and damaging even very advanced adversaries badly, putting them on par with if not surpassing the capabilities of the West in space. Military sources from several Pacific nations have indicated their beliefs that it is feasible for Chinese and Russian technologies to have e already surpassed those of the EU and US in many respects.

Only last month, Nato warned it was ready to retaliate with force if attacked in or from space, after designating space as a fifth domain of operations in 2019, alongside land, sea, air and cyberspace.

In April 2020 US military astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain was investigated over (and not found to be guilty of) allegations of committing bank fraud from space. Under the current international protocols, individuals’ actions in space are governed by and under the jurisdiction and laws of, the nation to which their citizenship belongs and in the case of multi-citizenship, the country in which they primarily reside (although the latter has yet to be tested).

“Space has become a critical infrastructure that we need to secure,” German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

Germany’s new space command will have a multi-faceted mission statement. Surveillance, Defence and Offence. The space command will defend friendly satellites from hostile interference and attack. Provide communications and surveillance data. Provide “disruption to adversaries’ satellite operations in the event of a conflict.” Which seems in places at odds with the 1981 UN resolution.

Additionally the space command will tackle the ever growing and very real threat to military and civilian devices, the environment and potentially climate change from a fast-growing satellite population and resulting space debris, which is forming an ever growing ‘shell’ of satellites and waste around the earth. Currently around 30’000 pieces of space debris with a diameter of at leat 4 inches, 5’000 active satellites and 3’400 dead satellites are being tracked by the European Space Agency. The number of active satellites has almost doubled in the last 12 months.

The surge is mainly driven by commercial space operators such a Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. Elon Musk’s  Starlink network aims to launch tens of thousands of privately owned satellites to supply global space-based wifi.

Insurance companies offering space coverage (that’s a thing) have expressed growing concern regarding the dense accumulation of satellites and space debris, LEOs in particular. (Low Earth Orbits occupy altitudes  around 2’000 KM)


© 2021 Al-Sahawat Times, Printed and Distributed by IPMG, an Al-Said Group entity. 

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About the Author

Omar Bishara
Journalist, Broadcast News Correspondent and Photojournalist