On 27 March 2019, the Indian Government destroyed one of its own satellites with a missile interceptor, reminding the world that States consider “counterspace capabilities” to be an essential part of a modern military and are actively developing such weapons. Some of these capabilities, however, are highly destructive and can pose a threat to other objects in orbit through the creation of space debris. As space grows in importance for the military and the rest of society, it is becoming increasingly necessary to better define the limits of conflict, even in the space environment. One option for ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities is a two-step approach: the development and adoption of “anti-satellite test” guidelines, followed by the negotiation of a treaty on the prohibition of the destruction of objects in orbit.
A two-step approach toward space arms control: the development and adoption of “anti-satellite test” guidelines, followed by a treaty on prohibiting destruction of orbiting objects.