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What to Know About Space Security

Author:
Patricia Lewis and David Livingstone

Space is a vital part of national and international infrastructures. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, humanity has been using space for the purposes of communications, monitoring our environment, tracking the planets in the solar system and the stars in the galaxies, proving data for global positioning, navigation and timing, and conducting vital scientific experiments. We are increasingly dependent on the global space-based satellite constellations for the workings of the national and international infrastructure such as the piloting of aircrafts, navigation at sea, military manoeuvres, financial transactions and internet and phone communications.

Two recent developments in China – the launch of a ‘quantum satellite’ designed to transmit hack-proof keys from space and its loss of control of the space station Tiangong-1 – highlight the security challenges, and dangers, space presents. What are the key vulnerabilities, and how can the international community create a secure a peaceful space environment?

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