The history of warfare is a history of each technological breakthrough overwhelming the prior mode of fighting. Stirrups spurred the creation of cavalry. Cannons on ships defeated unarmed vessels. Machine guns blunted infantry charges. Nuclear weapons gave rise to a long period of “mutual assured destruction” and contained escalation between the U.S. and Russia (then the USSR) during the Cold War (1946–1991).
Now that history continues into space. A dense network of military communications, missile guidance, anti-missile interception and global positioning relies on a network of satellites. What if an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) could be deployed to destroy U.S. satellites in space? This could negate offensive and defensive systems and leave ships at sea to rely on celestial navigation. (By the way, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis recently began requiring courses in celestial navigation for midshipmen after ending the requirement years ago, a sign of things to come).
In fact, the Chinese have already destroyed a satellite with a missile in space, although they targeted their own satellite as a demonstration without setting off hostilities. According to this article, plans for geopolitical and military expansion in space go well beyond targeting satellites. These plans include domination of the area between the Earth and the moon (called the cislunar zone) and colonizing the moon itself.
The challenges are coming mainly from China, but Russia is active as well. Now the U.S. is ramping up its response.
Space is the new battlefield. Investors may find opportunities in U.S. high-tech and defense contractors who will receive the most benefit and big-ticket contracts from this effort.
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