Space terrorism, floating debris pose threats to US
The United States is increasingly vulnerable to space terrorism, according to a new report, as it is more reliant on its satellites and other installations in space to conduct national security operations.
Because the US depends so much on its holdings in space for a variety of operations, and as it is the "primary guarantor of space access," it has more at stake in protecting its satellites from an attack or damage from another country's debris, according to a report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)."Threats to U.S. satellites would reduce the country's ability to attack suspected terrorists with precision-guided munitions and conduct imagery analysis of nuclear weapons programs, and could interrupt non-cash economic activity depending on the severity of the attack and number of satellites disrupted,"
wrote Micah Zenko, the Douglas Dillon Fellow at the CFR's Center for Preventive Action and the report's author.The report identifies China, North Korea, and Iran - all working to further their military space presence - as the top suspects for targeting US space capabilities.Should one of those countries attain advanced space operations, they could, in theory, attack a US satellite for leverage in negotiations, to ward off potentially hostile acts, or to act in defense in the face of pending conflict, the report continues.
Yet the report also goes on to state that terrorism may not be as big of an issue for US interests as the threat posed by space debris scattered by various countries.
"The U.S. National Research Council estimates that portions of LEO [low earth orbit] have reached a 'tipping point,' with hundreds of thousands of space debris larger than one centimeter stuck in orbit that will collide with other pieces of debris or spacecraft, thus creating exponentially more debris," according to the report.http://rt.com/usa/space-terrorism-junk-threat-920/