The Challenge of Small Satellite Systems to the Space Security Environment
Gallton, Daniel A.
Moltz, James Clay
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During the last two decades, technological advancements to the size and performance of electronics have fostered the development of increasingly sophisticated and smaller satellites. Small satellites, or smallsats as they are commonly referred to, have recorded data on terrestrial and space environments, served as important test beds and risk reducers for emerging space technologies, and provided important hands-on educational opportunities for industry and academia. The decreased cost and improved performance of smallsats have opened up a wide range of space missions at a fraction of the cost of larger satellite systems that would have been unfathomable two short decades ago. The proliferation of smallsat technology opens up a world of new scientific possibilities and unique security challenges as well for all space-faring nations through the potential use of smallsats as anti-satellite (ASAT) systems. This thesis examines the historical development of ASAT systems for the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China and discusses how they have influenced each nations space policy. Finally, this thesis will address current efforts to mitigate space weapons, review the implications of smallsat technology development on current space policy, and suggest courses of action to mitigate this emerging space security dilemma.
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