Credit: Project Ploughshares

The Space Security Index 2018 has been published by the Canadian peace-and-security think tank, Project Ploughshares.

Among key findings is noting the deteriorating security conditions in outer space in the absence of renewed governance efforts.

The just-issued report underscores:

Plans for mega-constellations of satellites that outpace sustainability rules;

A drive toward next-generation space exploration and resource extraction by private actors;

The emergence of dual-use technologies such as debris removal, satellite servicing, and maneuvering capabilities;

Continuing development and demonstration of anti-satellite capabilities;

U.S. plans for space-based ballistic missile interceptors that could mark the first deployment of space-based weapons.

Voluntary guidelines

Space Security Index 2018 also underscores the work of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that reached consensus on 21 voluntary guidelines to enhance the long-term sustainability of space activities.

In a press statement, Project Ploughshares project manager Jessica West explains that the growing geostrategic tension and mistrust discourage the development of constraints on the use of force in outer space. This lack of regulation has serious repercussions.

Space access

West asserts that space security is global security. Every facet of well-being – military security, humanitarian security, socioeconomic security, and environmental security – depends on the ability to access and use services from outer space. Dangerous activities could pollute the outer-space environment beyond repair through the production of space debris, limiting or ending such services.

Space Security Index 2018 was produced by civil society and academic organizations under the leadership of Canadian nonprofit organization Project Ploughshares. Partners include The Simons Foundation Canada; the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec; the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University in Washington, DC; the Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics at the University of Adelaide Law School in Australia; and the School of Law at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China.

For a copy of the report, go to:

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