Space Threat Assessment 2022

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Welcome to the fifth edition of Space Threat Assessment by the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Over the past five years, this assessment has used open-source information to track the developments of counterspace weapons that threaten U.S. national security interests in space. The United States has relied heavily on its space infrastructure since the first satellites were placed into orbit to track and monitor nuclear missile launches during the Cold War. Over the past six decades, the United States has grown more reliant on the information, situational awareness, and connectivity provided by military, civil, and commercial space systems. It should be no surprise that these assets are a target for adversaries attempting to gain asymmetric military advantage. In November 2021, the vice chief of space operations, General David Thompson, said that U.S. space systems are attacked “every single day” by reversible forms of counterspace weapons.1 The Space Threat Assessment is critical to understanding the changing nature of the space domain and monitoring trends in space and counterspace weapons.

More countries are investing in space and counterspace capabilities, and some countries are realigning military organizations, doctrine, and strategy to include or better reflect space and counterspace capabilities. Additionally, two destructive kinetic physical antisatellite (ASAT) tests have occurred in the past three years, which is a worrisome trend. Also of concern is the clear use of electronic warfare capabilities to deny or degrade access to space systems, such as jamming and spoofing. The most recent example of this is the use of GPS jamming capabilities by Russia as part of its invasion of Ukraine.

This edition of the Space Threat Assessment is in a different structure than in years past. It provides a discussion of the technical details that define different types of counterspace weapons and a “highlight” or quick overview of the main countries being tracked—China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, India, and others. The country sections include overviews of military space organizations, as well as launch, satellite, and counterspace capabilities. Notable in this year’s edition is the curated analysis; four key counterspace events in 2021 were identified and analyzed in detail, followed by a more comprehensive list of all notable counterspace activities and developments over the past year (January 2021–January 2022). The conclusion includes an analysis of notable trends and key issues to watch in the coming year.

For more detail on past counterspace weapons tests, including historical tests by the United States and the Soviet Union, please review the prior Space Threat Assessments (editions 2018–2021) or visit the Aerospace Security Project’s interactive online timeline at

Explore Counterspace Timeline


This report was made possible by general support to CSIS. Aerospace 

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