Global Counterspace Capabilities Report

 

Current Version:

2022 Executive Summary (English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic)

2022 Full Report (English)

        Revision history

Previous versions:

2021 Executive Summary (EnglishSpanish, French, Russian, Chinese) 2021 Full Report (English)
2020 Executive Summary (English, Spanish, French) 2020 Full Report (English)
2019 Executive Summary (English) 2019 Full Report (English)
2018 Executive Summary (English)  2018 Full Report (English)

Background

Space security has become an increasingly salient policy issue. Over the last several years, there has been growing concern from multiple governments over the reliance on vulnerable space capabilities for national security, and the corresponding proliferation of offensive counterspace capabilities that could be used to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy space systems. This in turn has led to increased rhetoric from some countries about the need to prepare for future conflicts on Earth to extend into space, and calls from some corners to increase the development of offensive counterspace capabilities and put in place more aggressive policies and postures.

We feel strongly that a more open and public debate on these issues is urgently needed. Space is not the sole domain of militaries and intelligence services. Our global society and economy is increasingly dependent on space capabilities, and a future conflict in space could have massive, long-term negative repercussions that are felt here on Earth. Even testing of these capabilities could have long-lasting negative repercussions for the space environment, and all who operate there. The public should be as aware of the developing threats and risks of different policy options as would be the case for other national security issues in the air, land, and sea domains.

The 2022 Report

The 2022 edition of the report adds new developments through February 2022, adds three new countries to the report (Australia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom), and reorganizes the report to highlight those countries that have created orbital debris through counterspace testing.

Major Updates in 2022:

  • Added historical U.S. ASAT programs (NOTSNIK, Satellite Interceptor Program, HiHo)
  • Added details on cannons and missile defenses intended for the Soviet Almaz military space stations
  • Additional movements of the US PAN and GSSAP satellites and the Russian Luch/Olymp-K satellite in the GEO belt
  • China using their SJ-21 removing a defunct Beidou satellite from GEO
  • New reports of GPS interference in Cyprus and Crimea
  • Deployment and use of electronic warfare (EW) capabilities in Ukraine
  • France's first military space exercise, ASTERX

Additional Information

History of ASAT Testing in Space (Google Sheet)

History of Robotic Rendezvous and Proximity Operations in Space (Google Sheet)

Animations of debris clouds from historical ASAT tests in space (Youtube)

Code used to generate the Gabbard plots (Github)

 

Last updated on September 9, 2022