end of the Cold War and the UN's weak Outer Space Treaty, in effect
since 1966, have done little to halt the silent efforts to develop
the weapons needed to one day dominate one's rivals in space.
2007, China successfully killed
a weather satellite using a solid fuel rocket. The U.S.
countered in 2008, with the missile
destruction of its spy satellite USA 193, which it said was
malfunctioning and could prove a "danger to people on
Now India has joined the game of militarization
of space. The director-general of India's defense research
organization on Jan. 3 told
the press that his country was currently working on an
exo-atmospheric kill vehicle and lasers, which could be combined to
destroy enemy satellites.
V.K. Saraswat, director-general of
the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which is part of
India's Ministry of Defence, elaborated, "The kill vehicle,
which is needed for intercepting the satellite, needs to be
developed, and that work is going on as part of the ballistic missile
The onboard lasers would not be used as
a high energy weapon, but rather as a positioning device to make sure
a destructive payload was delivered to the target. Mr. Saraswat
explains, "[The laser] will be able to give you a concrete
picture of the satellite, and use that picture to guide your kill
vehicle towards that. That work has yet to be done."
the efforts of China, the U.S., Russia, and now India are any
indication, it appears that past human wars on the land and on sea
may only be a prelude to wars in outer space; the sweeping stellar
battles of science fiction tales such as Star Wars may one day
become reality. For now, though, space warfare is unlikely
because there's little to be gained from it in terms of resources.
However, if man has not learned to coexist more peacefully by the
time we begin to colonize other celestial bodies and mine their
resources, tensions may boil over and successor of these space
weapons -- now mere novelties -- may see use.