Space Becomes New Stage for the Cold War

07.02.2019

Science fiction writers of the twentieth century have already predicted: Earth wars will sooner or later move into space. Some of them believed that the space confrontation between the countries would be a stimulus for the development of technologies, and would give impetus to space exploration. Others believed that space should become a demilitarized zone free from weapons and open only for research and cooperation.

Meanwhile, recent events in international politics show that humanity is stubbornly moving towards the first option. The appearance of weapons in space, which will destroy the researchers of this future space themselves, is a paradoxical, but almost accomplished fact. Palm belongs here to the United States, and not only because of the famous star wars program of President Ronald Reagan.

Donald Trump said he gave the order to develop orbital rapid response weapons. Allegedly in response to the threats that Russia and China represent to America. At the same time, neither Moscow nor Beijing have declared that they intend to militarize space, although the technologies of both countries quite allow for this. Will not Trump open the next “Pandora’s Box”, having gone down in history as the first person who gave the nod to the use of space weapons? And how should Russia and China and the international community respond to this?

Hypersonic schizophrenia

It seems that the United States continues to react too painfully to the appearance of hypersonic weapons in Russia. America has no analogues, and therefore it wants to "show teeth" in other technologies, where it allegedly has superiority. To understand the scope and objectives of the new US Star Wars program.

The space missile defense system has become one of the points of the updated missile defense strategy, which the Pentagon said in January. The United States recognized that the outdated missile defense system in Europe is powerless against Russian missiles, which means that the answer should be sought in space.

It is assumed that the latest weapons will be able not only to track missile launches in the United States, but also in time to destroy them directly from orbit. The Americans are also scared by the development of Russian anti-satellite missiles. Washington believes that the US ground forces, the Air Force and the fleet will be paralyzed if the enemy knocks down the military satellites of the satellite and communications with such missiles. After all, it was in this way that the Storm in the Desert operation in 1991 could be forcibly stopped. The US forces then, according to media reports, almost blindly marched through the desert on GPS satellites.

Therefore, the destruction of satellites for the United States is tantamount to the complete blindedness of the officers of the American army. The orbital missile defense system, as conceived by Trump, should not allow Russia and China to shoot down any American orbital forces.

And what about Russia?

On February 4, ISON presented the project of the first Russian hypersonic space drone. It will be launched by a carrier aircraft, then separated from it and turn on the main engines. After completing its mission, the device will be able to return to Earth by parachute.

The hypersonic drone will be completely Russian, it is also planned to equip it with engines from the Briz-M upper stage. Of the main characteristics: the altitude of the flight will reach 160 kilometers at a speed of 7 max or 8.5 thousand km / h. The drone will be able to bring vehicles into orbit at a height of 500 kilometers.

The drone will be serial, each instance will be able to make up to 50 flights. It is expected that the first flight tests will begin in 2023, and the reconnaissance aircraft M-55 will become the carrier of the drone.

Immediately pay attention to the fact that nowhere in the description or the declared characteristics is not present any weapons. A hypersonic drone can simply very quickly bring vehicles into orbit. However, it is not difficult to guess that the United States also sees the Russian hypersonic threat in it.

Legal aspect

Wouldn't American orbital weapons violate any international agreements on space exploration? This is an open question.

In fact, since the 1960s, the world has been discussing and forming any restrictions on the placement of weapons in space. The first document in this area was the 1967 Space Treaty, which was originally signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. Now it has already been ratified by about 100 countries. Article IV of the treaty states that the States Parties undertake not to place into the orbit around the Earth any objects with nuclear weapons or any other types of weapons of mass destruction, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies and not to deploy such weapons in outer space otherwise.

There is also UN Resolution No. 1884 of 1963, which states that the World Organization and its members are committed exclusively to the peaceful exploration of outer space, and will also refrain from transferring an arms race to outer space.

From this point of view, the United States, of course, violates the UN resolution, although they formally observe the Treaty on Space - it seems that there is no question of a nuclear character or mass destruction. However, now no one can give guarantees of the non-proliferation of such weapons by America to outer space. Moreover, such a fact will need to be proved.

Space Wars

Trump said that a group of US space forces will be created to service orbital weapons, which will include about 30 thousand troops. This group will be able to join the ranks of the American army already in 2020.

As the Times writes about this, the war in space is already ceasing to be food for the mind of science fiction writers, and it is becoming a reality. However, Russia is allegedly guilty of this: it was the first satellite in history that put it into orbit, making it clear that the geostationary orbit is of strategic importance, which means that the battle will soon begin for it.

At the same time, the publication calls not to fall into rabid militarism and to cooperate in space, as countries do in the Arctic. And for additional security, the Outer Space Treaty may be finalized, where you can include safety clauses for satellites of all countries.

We can agree with this opinion. Soviet and then Russian space developments have always been aimed primarily at the peaceful exploration of space. The first Soviet satellite proclaimed the idea of an autonomous exit into Earth orbit, and was not intended to attack anyone. That is why, ideally, the space should remain a space for cooperation, and not become a continuation of conflicts on the planet, finding itself a toy in the hands of politicians and the military.