BROOMFIELD, Colo. (SWF PR) — Rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) technologies enable a wide range of capabilities to support civil and commercial space activities such as on-orbit inspections, repair, refueling, assembly, and life extension. RPO capabilities can also be used for military and intelligence space activities such as intelligence, surveillance, and offensive weapons such as co-orbital anti-satellites.
While RPO technologies have long been a stable of human spaceflight activities, over the last twenty years robotic RPO capabilities have developed and grown in use, including for national security. While many RPO activities are no directly aggressive or destructive themselves, they can lead to misconceptions or heightened tensions that could negatively impact space security and stability.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (SWF PR) — Over the last fifteen years there has been a resurgence of anti-satellite (ASAT) testing in space by multiple countries. During the Cold War between 1960 and 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union conducted dozens of tests of both direct ascent and co-orbital ASAT weapons, some of which destroyed satellites and created hundreds of pieces of orbital debris.
After a brief pause, ASAT testing in space resumed in the mid-2000s and since then China, India, Russia, and the United States have all tested either direct ascent or co-orbital ASAT weapons, some of which again have destroyed satellites and created thousands of pieces of orbital debris.
The following excerpts from the report summarize Japan’s counterspace capabilities.
Japan has long been a well-established space actor and its space activities have historically been entirely non-military in nature. In 2008, Japan made a change to its constitution to enable national security-related activities in space and more recently, government officials have begun to publicly speak about developing various counterspace capabilities or developing military SSA capacity.
The following excerpt from the report summarizes France’s counterspace capabilities.
While France has long had a space program, as well as military satellites, it was not until very recently that France had an explicit focus on offensive and defensive counterspace capabilities.
The major change occurred in July 2019 with the release of the first French Space Defense Strategy, which elevated French military space organization and reassigned control of French military satellites from the French space agency to the military.
The following excerpts from the report summarize India”s growing counterspace programs and its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests in 2019.
India has over five decades of experience with space capabilities, but most of that has been civil in focus. It is only in the past several years that India has started organizationally making way for its military to become active users and creating explicit military space capabilities.
The following excerpt from the report summarizes U.S. counterspace capabilities.
The United States has conducted multiple tests of technologies for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) in both low Earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), along with tracking, targeting, and intercept technologies that could lead to a co-orbital anti-satellite (ASAT) capability.
These tests and demonstrations were conducted for other non-offensive missions, such as missile defense, on-orbit inspections, and satellite servicing, and the United States does not have an acknowledged program to develop co-orbital capabilities. However, the United States possesses the technological capability to develop a co-orbital capability in a short period of time if it chooses to.
The following excerpt from the report summarizes China’s counterspace capabilities.
The evidence strongly indicates that China has a sustained effort to develop a broad range of counterspace capabilities. China has conducted multiple tests of technologies for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) in both low earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous orbit (GEO) that could lead to a co-orbital ASAT capability.
The following excerpt from the report summarizes Russia’s counterspace capabilities.
There is strong evidence that Russia has embarked on a set of programs over the last decade to regain many of its Cold War-era counterspace capabilities. Since 2010, Russia has been testing technologies for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) in both low Earth orbit 9LEO) and geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) that could lead to or support a co-orbital anti-satellite (ASAT) capability. Evidence suggests at least two active programs: a new co-orbital ASAT program called Burevestnik that is potentially supported by a surveillance and tracking program called Nivelir.
by Director of Program Planning Brian Weeden and Washington Office Director Victoria Samson Secure World Foundation
Over the last several years, there has been growing concern from multiple governments over the reliance on vulnerable space capabilities for national security, and the corresponding proliferation of offensive counterspace capabilities that could be used to disrupt, deny the use of, degrade, or destroy space systems.
This in turn has led to increased rhetoric from some countries about the need to prepare for future conflicts on Earth to extend into space, and calls from some corners to increase the development of offensive counterspace capabilities and put in place more aggressive policies and postures.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (SSC PR) — Secure World Foundation has joined the Space Safety Coalition (SSC), a first-of-its-kind global ad hoc coalition dedicated to developing and maintaining a set of “living” space safety best practices. The new coalition comprises space operators, space industry associations and space industry stakeholders that want to lead by example, actively promoting responsible space safety through the voluntary adoption of relevant international standards, guidelines, and practices, and the development of more effective space safety guidelines and best practices.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (SWF) — Secure World Foundation (SWF) will play a leading role in a working group seeking to develop policy “building blocks” for the development and use of space resources.
SWF will join with the University of Leiden’s Institute of Air and Space Law to support an international effort to clarify rights and obligations in the emerging space-mining industry.
“Space mining is inspiring both intense interest and intense debate,” said SWF Executive Director, Michael Simpson. “Our goal is to identify common ground so that governments can know how to respond and investors and entrepreneurs can know what to expect.”
1. Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): No show today as I am at the AIAA Space 2013 Conference in San Diego..
2. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): No show today as I am at the AIAA Space 2013 Conference in San Diego.
3. Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 9:30-11 AM PDT (11:30- 1 PM CDT, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EDT): Taped interviews from AIAA Space 2013. When you see the program on the archives for the website and blog, the program is ready for your play and enjoyment.
4. Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation is with us regarding his recent Space Review article re the Space Fence. See www.thespacereview.com/article/2357/1.
1. Monday, Dec.3, 2012, 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back Futron’s DAVID VACCARO and JONATHAN BELAND to discuss the Futron 2012 Space Competitive Report. The Executive Summary is a free download from here: www.futron.com/sci_exe_summary_download_form.xml.
2. Tuesday, December 4 , 2012, 7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. MARTIN SCHWAB to discuss his new certificate courses for Kepler Space Institute Online/Kepler Space University. He has developed KSU 715, Celestial Leadership: Advancing Humans beyond Low Earth Orbit and co-developed with Robert Frantz, President of Kepler Space University, KSU 200, Critical Thinking: Alternative Energies – Traditional Economics.
3. Friday December 7, 2012, 9:30-11 AM PST (11:30- 1 PM CST, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EST): We welcome back DR. BOB BRODSKY regarding his new book “Catch a Rocket Plane: More Tales from the Cutting Edge, and Beyond.”
4. Sunday, December 9, 2012, 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). We welcome back DR. MICHAEL SIMPSON AND LANGDON MORRIS to discuss specific chapters & the book in general, “International Cooperation For The Development of Space.” This is the latest book published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG). Mr. Morris is one of the book’s editors and Dr. Simpson, Executive Director of the SWF, authored Chapter 2 in Part 1, “Broadening the Base: Cooperation As A Springboard For New Participants In the Space Sector.”
1. Monday, August 13, 2012, 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): NO SHOW TODAY AS I AM AT THE SMALSAT CONFERENCE.
2. Tuesday, August 14, 2012, :2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): NO SHOW TODAY AS I AM AT THE SMALLSAT CONFERENCE.
3. Friday, August 17, 2012, 9:30-11 AM PDT (11:30- 1 PM CDT, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EDT) : This program will consist of recorded interviews from the SMALLSAT CONFERENCE. When you see the program archived on the website and blog, it is ready for play.
4. Sunday, August 19, 2012, 1-3 PM PDT (4-6 PM EDT, 3-5 PM CDT). This is a Secure World Foundation-Space Show sponsored webinar discussing the on orbit servicing of satellites and debris mitigation efforts. Our special webinar guests include BRIAN WEEDEN OF SWF, RICHARD DALBELLO who is Vice President for Government Relations at Intelsat., and Major General, USAF (Retired) JAMES ARMOR who is Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for ATK Spacecraft Systems & Services, You can hear the audio of this program as you do any Space Show program. To watch the live stream, we will be using our private UStream channel: www.ustream.tv/channel/the-space-show. For Livestream, use