SPACE COMMAND AGENCY

  • Recently, Australia has announced a new Defence Space Command Agency to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in space.
  • It will help Australia in developing and advocating space-specific priorities within the government, industry, allies and even international partners.
  • The agency will provide training to people to become space specialists, help conduct strategic space planning, and be able to be a part of any developments regarding the refinement of space policy.
  • Australia will be setting scientific and space priorities with the agency in place and will be working towards creating an efficient space architecture.
  • All the operations of the agency – including design, construction, maintenance – will be within the purview of the standards and limitations of the Defence Ministry of Australia.

Space Command Structures around the World

  1. Spacecom – US Space Force.
  2. Defence Space Agency (DSA) – India
  3. Joint Space Command (France)
  4. Iranian Space Command (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force)
  5. Russian Space Forces (Russian Aerospace Forces)
  6. United Kingdom Space Command (Royal Air Force)

Concept of Militarization and Weaponization of Outer Space

  • The concept for space weaponization came up in the early 1980s through the “Strategic Defence Initiative” (SDI) also known as the “Star Wars” programme of the United States.
  • The idea was to put a large number of satellites into orbit that would detect the launch of enemy missiles and then shoot them down.

Issue of Militarisation and Weaponization of Space

  • The Global Commons for Outer Space is under threat in the present times. Increasing militarization of outer space has started the race of weaponizing outer space.
  • For example, Anti-SAT missiles can destroy satellites in outer space.
  • Anti-satellite missiles can destroy the communication satellites which would bring down the communication system.
  • Uplink and downlink jamming of satellites would also negatively impact the communication.
  • There has been an increase in the number of nations with interest in Space, leading to power rivalries, and the consequent failure to make common ground on Space security to prevent its militarization and weaponization.
  • The ensuing arms race for weaponization of outer space would create an environment of uncertainty, suspicion, miscalculations, competition and aggressive deployment between nations, which may lead to war.
  • Space wars can be so disastrous that it may destroy our only home in the Known Universe – Earth.

Outer Space Treaty of 1967

  • The treaty prohibits countries from placing into orbit around the Earth “any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction”.
  • It also prohibits the stationing of such weapons on celestial bodies, like the moon, or in outer space. The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all state parties to the treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes.
  • India is a party to the Outer Space Treaty.

There are four more multilateral treaties that deal with specific concepts agreed to in the Outer Space Treaty:

  1. The Rescue Agreement of 1968
  2. The Space Liability Convention of 1972
  3. The Registration Convention of 1976
  4. The Moon Treaty of 1979

Way Forward

  • For the welfare of the entire mankind, it is imperative that the notion of space as a global common is restored.
  • A centrally controlled governance system which ensures a responsible and safe ecosystem for space exploration and unhindered access to a peaceful space for our future generations is the need of the hour.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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