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Space Threat Assessment 2023

This resource for policymakers and the public leverages open-source information to assess key developments in foreign counterspace weapons. Drawing on six years of collected data and analyses, this series describes trends in the development, testing, and use of counterspace weapons and enables readers to develop a deeper understanding of threats to U.S. national security interests in space. The past year was dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where space capabilities, including commercial satellites, played a highly visible and compelling role in Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion. Thus, this year’s featured analysis provides an in-depth look at Russia’s battlefield employment of counterspace weapons.

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Battle Networks: The Three Part Series

Militaries use battle networks to detect what is happening on the battlefield, process that data into actionable information, decide on a course of action, communicate decisions among forces, act on those decisions, and assess the effectiveness of the actions taken. Battle networks are sometimes referred to as the “sensor-to-shooter kill chain” (or just the “kill […]

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U.S. Civil Space Primer

refers to departments, agencies, and organizations of the federal government that have operational, regulatory, policy, or other responsibilities over the space activities of the United States, including private sector space activities, which are non-military in nature. Civil space has its roots in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which separated military and civilian […]

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No Place to Hide: A Look into China’s Geosynchronous Surveillance Capabilities

China launched a remote-sensing satellite called Yaogan-41 into geostationary orbit (GEO) on December 15, 2023. Analysts expect the satellite to settle into a position that would allow continuous surveillance of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as Taiwan and Mainland China. Paired with data from other Chinese surveillance satellites, Yaogan-41 could provide China an unprecedented ability […]

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Mission Authorization: Decoding the Space Policy Dilemma

On November 15, 2023, the White House’s National Space Council released a legislative proposal that would create a licensing process for private sector novel space activities, called mission authorization, consistent with U.S. obligations under the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967. Meanwhile, Congress and a government-chartered space advisory group have offered their own proposals. While all parties acknowledge […]

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U.S. Space-Based Nuclear Command and Control: A Guide

The United States has long depended on a vast array of complex sensing and communications infrastructure to receive warning in the event of a nuclear attack and to execute nuclear orders. This command and control network is highly reliant on space-based assets to operate and provide dependable information to decision makers in the event of […]

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Indian Space Policy for the Private Sector

The Draft Space Activities Bill and its Challenges In 2017, the Indian Department of Space (DOS) released the Draft Space Activities Bill, a proposed bill setting goals and regulations for the private space industry. The Draft Bill was drawn up as a result of several startup companies in India expressing interest in space activities and […]

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