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How crazy is humanity? A progression from the ancient battlefield to a satellite war in space. A state of war between machines in space operated by humans. This is very likely to be part of future warfare and as a matter of fact, a part of the current global warfare.

Yet, if a state of war is part of human nature, perhaps it’s a positive progression. No more ‘Brave Heart’, or ‘Troy’ battlefields, no more humans facing each other, terror attacks, captures, and guerilla warfare. But how can it really change warfare as we know it today? Can it create peace or silent some of the less developed countries and groups?

The Satellite State Cold War

As of 2019, there are 4,987 active satellites orbiting the earth, and only 302 are being used for military purposes. The United States has the most satellites in space with a total number of 123 military satellites according to WorldAtlas, while Russia owns 74 satellites, China with 68, France India and Israel with 7, and Germany and the United Kingdom with 7. The development of military satellites in space has drawn NATO to declare space as a “warfighting domain”.

The fact that space has become crowded and unregulated allows more countries, private companies, and in the future, terror groups to develop satellite weapon capabilities. Nowadays, there are several satellite state battlefields with the most active one is between the United States and China. Other space war threats include the United States and Russia, Sweden and Russia, Israel and Iran, South and North Korea, and India and Pakistan.

What countries have anti-satellite missiles?

At the time of writing, only four countries have succeeded to use anti-satellite weapons (ASAT system). Those are the United States, Russia, China, and India. Israel is another country that allegedly can operate an anti-satellite missile.

Anti-satellite missiles are a space weapon that can attack, disrupt and destroy enemy missiles for military purposes.

The race for space weapons

Unfortunately, countries tend to compete for owning the most lethal weapon as soon as possible and once space has become a “warfighting domain”, countries might use it for military purposes. France has recently announced its space weapon plan to be ready in 2030, the United States continues to arm its space military capabilities, China and Russia are co-developing lasers and a host of other anti-satellite weapons, and India, Israel, and the United Kingdom are also improving their space weapon arsenal.

The outer space treaty which was established to form the basic legal framework of international space law, including placing weapons in space is being ignored by most superpowers countries. Perhaps that is the reason why a space war can be dangerous for mankind as the ability to hide weapons and secretly attack and disrupt targets is optional for some countries. Some suggest a new treaty to ban weapons in space, however, without an agreement of the most powerful countries, the satellite state cold war might be a perpetual concern for every person.

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