If regulation of space weapons is coming, Putin wants to be ahead of the pack.
Deganit PaikowskyDecember 26, 2021, 3:00 AM
On Nov. 15, Russia tested and demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) system by destroying one of its inactive satellites at an altitude of about 300 miles above the earth’s surface. At this altitude, the satellite’s debris will orbit the Earth for a long time. The United States has identified more than 1,500 pieces.
The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea have made harsh allegations against Russia, accusing Moscow of being irresponsible and endangering active satellites, including the International Space Station (and its astronauts) and the Chinese space station, which is under construction. Additionally, they criticized Russia for destabilizing the world order. This raises the question of why Russia chose to test and demonstrate an ASAT capability now.
Russia may have calculated that in the context of rising great-power rivalry, especially between the United States and China, the growing trend of space weaponization is the future of warfare. At the same time, this trend of weaponization opens the door to stringent space regulations that will limit the development and use of these capabilities. Displaying technological capability before new international regulations are created can be valuable for both national security and political reasons.