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

Presentation by Amb (Ret'd) Paul Meyer
Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation
Space Security 2016 Conference - Sustaining the Momentum: the Current Status of Space Security
Palais des Nations
Geneva, Switzerland
 

Chapter 8: "Outer Space and Cyberspace: A Tale of Two Security Realms"
contributed by Amb. (Ret'd) 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

 

 

Permission to make digital or hard copies of this publication for internal use within NATO and for personal or educational use when for non-profit or non-commercial purposes is granted providing that copies bear this notice and a full citation on the first page.  Any other reproduction or transmission requires prior written permission by NATO CCD COE.

 

 

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.

          SPACE SECURITY INDEX 2015 - Executive Summary

For more information and to order copies of the Space Security Index Executive Summary, please contact SSI Project Manager, Anna Jaikaran, at Project Ploughshares.  The full report will be available for purchase in Autumn 2015 at www.spacesecurity.org.

The definition of space security guiding this report reflects the intent of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that outer space should remain open for all to use for peaceful purposes now and in the future:  

"The secure and sustainable access to, and use of, space and freedom from space-based threats."

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.

 

The views expressed in the Space Security Index represent those of the experts engaged throughout the process and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada or the other partner organizations of Spacesecurity.org.

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.

SPACE SECURITY INDEX 2014 – Full Report

For more information and to order copies of the Space Security Index report, please contact SSI Project Manager, Cesar Jaramillo, at Project Ploughshares: cjaramillo@ploughshares.ca.
 

The Space Security Index is the first and only annual, comprehensive, and integrated assessment of space security.  Based on eight indicators of space security, it provides background information and in-depth analysis on key trends and developments in the space field.  The project seeks to provide a fact-base of trends and developments in space security based on primary, open source research. It also includes an annual assessment of the status of space security based on a consultative process engaging a broad range of stakeholders.

The objective of the Space Security Index is to facilitate dialogue on space security challenges and potential responses by providing the necessary facts and focus to inform an important debate that has become unnecessarily polarized.

The definition of space security guiding this report reflects the intent of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that outer space should remain open for all to use for peaceful purposes now and in the future: 

The secure and sustainable access to, and use of,
space and freedom from space-based threats.


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.

By Amb. (Ret'd) Paul Meyer,
Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation
and Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security, Simon Fraser University
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.

The Space Security Index report attempts to take stock of all areas that may have an impact on the sustainability of outer space.  In this context, issues such as the threat posed by space debris, the priorities of national civil space programs, the growing importance of the commercial space industry, efforts to develop a robust normative regime for outer space activities, and concerns about the militarization and potential weaponization of space are critical.

Space Security Index 2013 - Executive Summary

Space Security Index 2013 - Full Report

For more information and to order copies of the Space Security Report, please contact SSI Project Manager, Cesar Jaramillo, at Project Ploughshares: cjaramillo@ploughshares.ca.
 

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.

The views expressed in the Space Security Index represent those of the experts engaged throughout the process and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada or the other partner organizations of SSI.