Reflection by Miroslav Tůma: Will Outer Space Be Weaponized?

This essay discusses the main elements of the American security document called the Missile Defense Review 2019, which was presented by the US Ministry of Defense in January 2019.

It covers the possible reasons for the postponed publication of the document and informs about the main legal documents dealing with the peaceful use of space. It compares the current document with the similar one from 2010, which was published by the Obama administration. It also focuses on the possibility of the deployment of US spacebased interceptors in the Earth’s orbit. In this context it analyses the possible negative consequences of such a development, especially that it could lead to the beginning of a phase of a high risk weaponization of outer space and the start of an arms race in that domain.


The term the weaponization of outer space is generally understood as referring to the deployment of offensive means, including interceptors and laser weapons, in outer space. For example, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) of the Republican president Ronald Reagan’s administration, also known as “Star Wars”, expected a deployment of space based interceptors (SBI). As is well known the project was not realised. Due to technological problems and enormous financial costs the SDI program was prematurely terminated. In contrast, attempts at the military use of outer space have existed for a relatively long time. It involves using military satellites, and in some cases even commercial ones for military applications with an inoffensive and passive character, such as the early warning military satellites and sensors.

Whole article is available here.