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Anti-satellite weapons include ground-based signal jammers used to disrupt signals from navigation and communications satellites


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Almost every major space-faring nation is investing in ways to jam and destroy other nations' satellites.

Two new reports conclude that the major space powers are developing and, in some cases, have deployed anti-satellite weapons.

The United States, Russia and China are all working on anti-satellite weapons or have deployed some kind of anti-satellite capability.

Other anti-satellite weapons include ground-based signal jammers used to interrupt signals from navigation and communications satellites.

The United States, Russia, China and other countries are developing new weapons to endanger the satellite constellations of other great powers. Anti-satellite weapons not only help degrade a military adversary's ability to operate on the battlefield, but also threaten civilian space. This makes it more difficult to identify individual perpetrators of attacks and could deal a serious blow to the military and economic power of space powers in both peacetime and wartime.

Two reports, one from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the other from the Secure World Foundation, analyze open-source data to provide estimates of global anti-satellite warfare programs, including those of the United States. The result is a chilling look at weapons that could be used to shoot down not just military space satellites, but civilian ones as well, causing major damage to everything from TV signals to global positioning systems.

According to CSIS and SWF, Russia has invested a lot of time and effort in anti-satellite weapons. The 14A042 Nudol is derived from a ballistic missile interceptor that shoots down incoming ballistic missiles with limited anti-satellite capabilities. So far, Nudol has been tested seven times.

The World Security Foundation also said there were indications that Moscow was upgrading its Krona space surveillance optics with the Kalina Laser Blinding system, designed to blind or damage optical sensors on foreign spy satellites. SCRS notes that the Peresvet laser system can be used to destroy satellites in low Earth orbit.

At the same time, Russia is investing in near-Earth anti-satellite capabilities, deploying satellite jamming systems to disrupt data flows between satellites and their customers on the ground. CSIS noted that there have been several reports of GPS interference by Russia and Russian forces in and around Syria. The outage of GPS makes it harder for pilots and self-homing weapons to quickly reference their own positions. Interference can take the form of interfering with GPS signals, preventing users from accessing data, spoofing locations, and secretly sending false location data.