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Satnews Daily
April 15th, 2020

Secure World Foundation's Updated Report on Global Counterspace Capabilities

Dr. Brian Weeden

The Secure World Foundation's (SWF) annual report, “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment” compiles and assesses publicly available information on the counterspace capabilities being developed by multiple countries across five categories: dire, along with their potential military utility.

The report has be edited by SWF Director of Program Planning Brian Weeden and Washington Office Director Victoria Samson.

This is the third annual iteration of this report, released in tandem with the Center for Strategic and International Studies report.  In addition to including updates on counterspace developments for Russia, China, the United States, India, Iran, and North Korea, as well as cyber developments in general, the 2020 report includes new chapters on France and Japan and information about space situational awareness capabilities for all countries covered in the report.

Ms. Victoria Samson

2020 Highlights:

Stoplight charts indicating how far China, Russia, and the United States have progressed in developing counterspace capabilities are included in the executive summary.

  • China: additional RPO activities of the SJ-17 to inspect a potential anomaly with Chinasat 5C in GEO; reports of widespread GPS jamming near port of Shanghai; additional details on directed energy facilities.
  • Russia: new research suggesting that there are two separate programs, Burevestnik and Nivelir, which may correspond to a co-orbital ASAT program and a surveillance/tracking program, respectively; additional RPO activities in LEO and GEO, including shadowing of a NRO imagery satellite; evidence of a new program called Ekipazh to develop nuclear-powered space-based electronic warfare capability; and widespread PNT jamming and spoofing in Crimea, Syria, and Russia.
  • United States: covert release of cubesats from X-37B OTV-5; more public details on the RPO activities of GSSAP and Mycroft; widespread GPS jamming for naval exercises in the southeastern U.S.; and re-establishment of the United States Space Command and creation of the United States Space Force; 
  • France: the new French Space Defense Strategy and plans for ground-based lasers and guardian satellites.
  • India: updated information on March 2019 ASAT test; information on the establishment of the Defence Space Agency and the Defence Space Research Organization.
  • Iran: information on attempted Iranian satellite launches in August 2019 and February 2020; reports of Iranian GNSS jamming occurring near the Straits of Hormuz.
  • Japan: information on their exploration of counterspace capabilities and policies.