The security of outer space, as well as the role of outer space in ensuring national and international security, is an increasingly relevant topic, particularly in light of recent challenges, notably the growing use of outer space, the risk of aggressive uses of outer space, and the war in Ukraine.

The growing use of outer space, by both public and private actors, raises challenges relating to its sustainable use, from risks of harmful interference to physical collision, including in light of overcrowding and space debris, as well as of new governmental and commercial space stations. Space Traffic Management is central to attaining space sustainability and, as a result, also its security.

The risk of aggressive uses of outer space is also an increasingly central issue. Whilst military uses of outer space are not prohibited, anti-satellite tests and threats of disruptions against satellites have dominated many of the headlines in recent times.

The war in Ukraine has further drawn attention to the role of satellites in national security, notably territorial security. In addition, environmental, energy and health security have largely benefitted (or could benefit) from satellites. Satellites are, thus, increasingly acknowledged as an instrument to address, among others, three main challenges of our times: peace, climate change and pandemics.

Finally, cybersecurity is a growing concern, when it comes to the cybersecurity (and resilience) of satellite networks (given their role in meeting societal and economic needs), as well as the contribution of satellite networks in ensuring the cybersecurity of (other) critical infrastructures.

This Space Brief highlights significant aspects of space security in view of recent and expected policy and legal developments, as well as current events and emerging threats.

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