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Military space race? Why some say now's the time for an upgraded treaty.

SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS As US policymakers call for developing space-based military assets, some observers say the absence of updated agreements between spacefaring nations could lead to further militarization of the realm. “I have to say,” said President Trump in an April video call with astronauts aboard the International Space Station that was broadcast to schoolchildren nationwide, “there’s tremendous military application in space.” The United States has long worked on that assumption, to the extent that much of its military prowess now depends upon a vast network of satellites orbiting the planet. Other nations have come to understand that dependence – both Russia and China have reportedly tested anti-satellite missiles in recent years – which in turn has led to a growing clamor from politicians and influential thinkers for the US to improve its satellite warfare capabilities. Most recently, the rapid development of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program has boosted calls for all kinds of missile defenses – including those based in outer space. Yet there is another side to the debate, with some calling for the strengthening of international agreements that would constrain all countries from escalating the militarization of space. “Technology is developing rapidly,” says Laura Grego, a scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program. “There are lots of changes happening. Many more actors are in space and many more people are interested in space. There are trends that might be stabilizing or might be destabilizing depending on how we create rules about how we use them.”

Read More: CSMonitor.com

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