Space and Cyber Security

International Space Station.  Photo courtesy of NASA.

Outer space has become vitally important for human security and development. Peaceful use of space and the military significance of outer space continue to increase. Some 60 countries currently utilize space for peaceful purposes, for communications, banking, monitoring environmental and climate change, disaster management, E-health, E-learning and surveillance and guidance systems for military purposes.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty establishes the basic framework for international space law. The treaty affirms space as free to all states for exploration and peaceful purposes and prohibits nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in orbit or on celestial bodies, or stationed in outer space in any other manner. However, it does not prohibit the launch through space of ballistic missiles that potentially have anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) capability or WMD payloads.

The security of space is now of serious concern. It is essential to prohibit the deployment of weapons in space that could destroy or endanger spacecraft and satellites in space, in the atmosphere and on earth. It is also essential to prohibit ground-based ASATs.

The three major issues that threaten the security of space for peaceful purposes are weaponization, space debris and the overcrowding of orbits.

The weaponization of space could lead to an arms race in space and the likelihood of space warfare. Since the earliest launches of satellites, space has been militarized with satellites used for command-and-control, early-warning, and guidance systems for weapons. The withdrawal of the United States from the bilateral Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between Russia and the U.S. has allowed the U.S. to proceed with the development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, a stepping stone to space weapons. Further, both China and the United States have tested ASATs.

Space debris, a consequence of global use of space, is another issue of concern. Billions of small objects circle the planet, endangering spacecraft and satellites and causing light pollution. 

The overcrowding of orbits undermines the security of assets in space by creating the potential for collisions, thus causing tensions between states.

Outer space, protected as a common good, necessitates secure and sustainable access to and use of space and freedom from space-based threats for all states thus safe for peaceful human activity. Though a number of Resolutions affirming the importance and the urgency of preventing an arms race in space have been submitted to the UN, to date there is no legal regime preventing the weaponization of space, which remains the ultimate goal.
 

Space and Cyber Security Content

Chapter 8: "Outer Space and Cyberspace: A Tale of Two Security Realms"
contributed by Amb. (Ret.) Paul Meyer, Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation

From "International Cyber Norms: Legal, Policy and Industry Perspectives"
Anna-Maria Osula and Henry Rõigas (Eds.)
NATO CCD COE Publications, Tallinn 2016

Presentation by Paul Meyer, Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation
Space: Obstacles and Opportunities, Canada-UK Colloquium
Glasgow, UK
November 20-21, 2015

Space Security Index 2015 is the twelfth annual report on developments related to safety, sustainability, and security in outer space, covering the period January-December 2014.  It is part of the broader Space Security Index (SSI) project, which aims to improve transparency on space activities and provide a common, comprehensive, objective knowledge base to support the development of national and international policies that contribute to the security and sustainability of outer space.

The Space Security Index is a research partnership made possible by financial and in-kind support from The Simons Foundation; Project Ploughshares; Erin J.C. Arsenault Trust Fund at McGill University, Faculty of Law; Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, and the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

Space Security Index 2014 is the eleventh annual report on developments related to safety, sustainability, and security in outer space, covering the period January-December 2013.  It

Space Security Index 2014 is the eleventh annual report on developments related to safety, sustainability, and security in outer space, covering the period January-December 2013.  It is part of the broader Space Security Index (SSI) project, which aims to improve transparency on space activities and provide a common, comprehensive, objective knowledge base to support the development of national and international policies that contribute to the security and sustainability of outer space.

The Space Security Index is a research partnership between the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, The Simons Foundation and Project Ploughshares.   The project is made possible through the generous support of the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, the Erin J.C. Arsenault Fund at McGill University, the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, the Project Ploughshares and The Simons Foundation.T

By Amb. (Ret'd) Paul Meyer,
Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation
Simons Papers in Security and Development No. 38/2014
School for Interantaional Studies, Simon Fraser University
July 2014

 

Remarks by Amb. (Ret'd) Paul Meyer
Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation 
Space Security 2014: Implementation and Compliance Conference
Palais des Nations
Geneva, Switzerland
March 19-20, 2014

Space Security Index 2013 is the tenth annual report on developments related to security in outer space, covering the period January to December 2012.  It is part of the broader Space Security Index (SSI) project, which aims to improve transparency on space activities and provide a common, comprehensive knowledge base to support the development of national and international policies that contribute to the security and sustainability of outer space.

SSI is a consortium of governmental, non-governmental, and academic organizations that produces the annual Space Security Index. The Governance Group is comprised of representatives from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, The Simons Foundation, Project Ploughshares, and the Secure World Foundation; and members of the Advisory Board represent the Intelsat General Corporation, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, and HEC Montreal.

The Space Security Index is supported by Secure World Foundation, The Simons Foundation, Project Ploughshares, and the Erin J.C. Arsenault Trust Fund at McGill University.