Space politics is finally moving into the 21st century

There has never been more going on in space. His business activity exploded Over the past five years, as private space companies have launched rockets, put satellites into orbit, and bid on missions to the moon.

But some experts worry that this increase in activity is going beyond international agreements governing who can do what in space. Most of these policies were written and adopted long before the commercial space sector heated up.

Now, states realize they need to update those agreements. this week , United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research annual contract outer space security conference In Geneva, Switzerland (participants had the option to attend physically or in person). For two days, diplomats, researchers, and military officials from around the world met to discuss threats and challenges, arms control, and space security. Their conversations provided a window into what the new space policies might look like.

Here are some of the top takeaways.

The arms race could be brewing

Some experts worry that space may turn into the next battlefield. Counterspace technologies are increasingly being used. for example, Russia And China It recently conducted anti-satellite missile tests, and the United States has long had similar capabilities.

“I would argue we are watching an arms race unfold,” he said. Benjamin Silverstein, Research Analyst for the Space Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “We may be past the point where it is wise to focus our main efforts on preventing this arms race.”

Silverstein said that rather than deterrence, new policies should focus on mitigating the negative effects of this arms race. He urged countries to use the United Nations and its diplomatic resources to clarify and improve relations between rival parties.

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