International Perspectives on Space Weapons

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Little consensus exists in the international community on what constitutes a space weapon or the weaponization of space. This paper uses a broad framework for what may be considered a space weapon, organized by the domains in which they originate and have effects (Earth-to-space, space-to-space, and space-to-Earth) as well as the physical means by which these effects are achieved (kinetic and non-kinetic).

While there are many other ways to categorize and subdivide the broad range of possible space weapons, the six resulting categories in this framework prove useful for highlighting differences in definitions, how countries view space weapons, and the current state of space weaponization. Of the six categories, three categories of space weapons have been demonstrated by nations either through testing, deployment, or operational use (Earth-to-space kinetic, Earth-to-space non-kinetic, and space-to-space kinetic). This means that by many definitions space has already been weaponized.

This paper further analyzes international perspectives on these categories of space weapons and the weaponization of space, focusing relatively more on countries other than the United States, Russia, and China. It examines how existing international agreements define and limit space weapons and weapons-related activities, proposed international agreements and the reactions of other nations to these proposals, and current developments that relate to space weapons and the weaponization of space

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