China, Russia, and the United Sates are developing new weapons to wage war in space. It starts by knocking out satellites using missiles, lasers, microwave interference, or spacecraft that "could simply approach a satellite and spray paint over its optics, or manually snap off its communications antennas, or destabilize its orbit," writes Lee Billings in Scientific American.
In response to these possible threats, the Obama administration has budgeted at least $5 billion to be spent over the next five years to enhance both the defensive and offensive capabilities of the U.S. military space program. The U.S. is also attempting to tackle the problem through diplomacy, although with minimal success; in late July at the United Nations, long-awaited discussions stalled on a European Union-drafted code of conduct for spacefaring nations due to opposition from Russia, China and several other countries including Brazil, India, South Africa and Iran. The failure has placed diplomatic solutions for the growing threat in limbo, likely leading to years of further debate within the UN's General Assembly.
"The bottom line is the United States does not want conflict in outer space," says Frank Rose, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, who has led American diplomatic efforts to prevent a space arms race. The U.S., he says, is willing to work with Russia and China to keep space secure. "But let me make it very clear: we will defend our space assets if attacked."
"War in Space May Be Closer Than Ever" (SciAm)