Spaceplanes bristling with weaponry, satellites that capture “space architecture,” directed-energy lasers and electromagnetic shockwaves designed to instantly blind global communications, and missile-test debris fields menacing the congested and contested orbital paths that strap the planet.
These are not highlights from an upcoming Sci-Fi Channel TV series but could be part of a History Channel documentary since all of the above has already happened in all of the above—that is, from the blue sky all the way above into the black of Earth’s near-space.
Space may be the final frontier, but it is now the first theater of war, as demonstrated by Russia’s cyber-blinding of Ukraine and other European nations’ GPS satellite networks before launching its February 2022 invasion.
Within the United States military, there are two entities primarily engaged in defending the nation’s interests in space—which include 8,225 satellites in low-Earth orbit and nearly 1,000 in geosynchronous orbit (GEO)—in a shared “area of responsibility” that begins 62 miles above the planet.
Read more: Generals Warn Space, the Final Frontier, Is First Theater of 21st Century Combat