In the future, wars could also be fought in space. A Space Center is now to be built in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate – and will primarily serve as a coordination center for space surveillance.
NATO is pressing ahead with its preparations for the defense of the alliance in space. The defense ministers of the 30 member states intend to announce the construction of a Space Center this Thursday. It is to be attached to the NATO Air Force High Command in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, and will primarily serve as a coordination center for space surveillance.
In the future, information on possible threats to satellites could be pooled in Ramstein. It is also conceivable that the Space Centre could later be expanded into a command center for defence measures.
In addition, a kind of think tank for NATO’s space activities is to be set up shortly. The most recent locations under discussion for the so-called competence center were Kalkar in North Rhine-Westphalia and Toulouse in France. Kalkar is already home to the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) for the NATO air forces. Toulouse is advertising the fact that the French national space command is also currently being set up there.
NATO’s plans are a consequence of the fundamental decision taken last year to declare space an independent area of operations. This decision will enable NATO, for example, to request from allies for the provision of satellite communication or image data transfer capacities for operations. In addition, it has led to an even more intensive discussion within the alliance as to in which case possible attacks from or in space should be treated as an alliance case in the future.
All crucial for early warning systems
“NATO has no intention of deploying weapons in space, but we must ensure that our missions and operations have the appropriate support,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on the subject last year. Space, he said, is of crucial importance for early warning systems, communication and navigation, for example.
The Norwegian alluded to the fact that NATO is becoming increasingly dependent on technology in space. Satellites are used for communication during military operations, for reconnaissance and espionage, and for navigation systems. Conversely, this means that an attack on NATO satellites could considerably reduce their defense capability.
In addition, in the event of war, attacks on satellites could be used to paralyze parts of public life. For example, the processing of cashless payment transactions or navigation systems for road, sea and air traffic could be seriously compromised.
States are significantly expanding their space capabilities
In addition to the NATO country USA, countries such as Russia, China and India in particular have recently considerably expanded their space capabilities. For example, Russia caused a stir this year with several tests of anti-satellite weapons after India had already successfully tested an anti-satellite missile last year by launching its own satellite.
Also in 2019, the U.S. Armed Forces had already put their new command for space missions into operation. “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to have only an American presence in space,” said U.S. President Donald Trump at the time. “We must have American dominance in space.” The enemies of the United States could use new technology to attack satellites in orbit around the Earth that are “critical to our operations on the battlefield and to our lives at home.