Lessons from the First 50 Years of Space

Clay Moltz, Deputy Director, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and David Wright,
Co-Director and Senior Scientist for the Global Security program, Union
of Concerned Scientists, discuss space weapons and the recent Chinese
test. They outlined the history of space defenses (both anti-satellite
weapons and anti-ballistic missile systems), as well as attempts to
manage space threats through bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Technical problems such as electro-magnetic pulse radiation from
nuclear tests in space and debris from conventional weapons tests were
also discussed. Safe access to space is critical for a range of
military support functions (verification, reconnaissance, navigation,
communications), as well as commercial uses, and human spaceflight.
What are the capabilities of current space weapons programs (including
Chinese)? What risks do these systems pose to users of space? What are
the implications for US security?

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