The Central role of Space Domain Awareness in future military conflicts

Since the start of the Space Age, the orbital domain has always been used for military purposes; but in recent times there has been an increasing focus on tactical rather than strategic satellite applications. There has been a shift in military emphasis towards systems that provide wider coverage, more timely information, increased data capacity, and lower latency communications. Nevertheless, these novel military capabilities are now being surpassed by commercial mega-constellations, some of which are providing services that were once exclusively military functions.

For these reasons, space assets have now become targets; a number of nations have demonstrated anti-satellite (ASAT) systems in multiple orbital regimes. In a hostile military environment, both offensive and defensive space operations require highly detailed space domain awareness (SDA) information. This level of SDA is currently in relatively short supply, and as satellite systems start to develop SDA countermeasures, it will become increasingly difficult to acquire. 

The lecture will explain the ongoing technical evolution in space systems that will, inevitably, influence future conflicts, and the increasing threats that such systems face. It will make the case that the outcome of future military engagements in orbit will be reliant on SDA which needs to be far better than the limited information that is available today, especially if satellite system designers start to protect their assets by conducting “SDA Warfare”. 

A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.40.