Space Domain and defense is the topic of the round table hosted by Giovanni Caprara, journalist at Corriere della Sera, during the first day of New Space Economy ExpoForum 2023; prominent figures in the field of space security and jurisdiction participated at this event. The panelists included:
- Roberto Aceti, CEO of OHB Italy;
- Alejandro Arévalo Alegria, Col. Air Attaché at the Embassy of Chile, London;
- Andrea Console, Lt. Col. Italian Air Force – Space Policy Office;
- John D. Patrick, Col. Director of NATO Space Center;
- Luigi Riggio, Col. Head of Space and Aerospace Policies Unit.
In an increasingly interconnected world, with the need to define the boundaries and areas of intervention for a nation, space represents the last frontier of territorial dispute.
In practical terms, the keywords are SSA “Space Situational Awareness,” as indicated by Roberto Aceti, which refers to a nation’s ability to understand exactly what is happening around and, above all, through the use of a ground-based telescope network provided, for example, by OHB (Orbitale Hochtechnologie Bremen, an important Italian company), capable of ensuring a broad field of view with equal large reliability and detail.
The importance of establishing a clear and defined space domain is evident, especially in emerging space nations like Chile. As described by Col. Alejandro Arévalo Alegria, a young nation shapes its space generation over the long term, starting from early childhood education to the highest level of professional specialization, encompassing various technical fields such as engineering, law, and defense. The guiding phrase for a developing nation should be “space at the service of society.”
A new environment to protect us all
Another aspect that characterizes the space domain is a nation’s dependence on its defense satellite systems, which makes those satellites a “hot” target in the event of an attack, as explained by Lt. Col. Andrea Console and Col. John D. Patrick.
This necessitates the need to secure these infrastructures through two methodologies. The first involves enhancing the resilience of the satellites themselves, while the second, considered more effective, is to deter any potential hostile entity from attacking such infrastructures.
The boundaries governing this domain are increasingly blurred, which creates ambiguity in the intervention of various defense entities, as indicated by Col. Luigi Riggio. The legal perspective on the boundary of space is still under study, as is the management of the lunar and cis-lunar, Martian, and various Lagrange point areas.
An interesting question posed by Caprara concludes the round table, “Is the legal or technological sphere more challenging at the moment?” The response to this question was given by all the guests in a very similar manner, “It depends on the reference point and context being analyzed, and there is no absolute judgment.”
Space is still an ambiguous field in which we all coexist and become increasingly dependent, slowly transforming it into a resource of growing strategic importance.