Q. Has the world entered a new normal where the space has become the next frontier?
Introduction ASAT US Space Force
Is it the next Frontier? Yes, it is No, it is not
The 1,300 active satellites above the Earth provide a wide array of services some of which are vital for emergency response and military.
An attack on a country’s satellite can be catastrophic and many worries that space could be the new theatre for war.
In this backdrop, nations are building technologies to neutralise such threats. India’s recent testing of the Anti-Satellite weapon and USA’s Space force can be studied in this context.
A lot has been happening in the last decade to consider the point that space has been turning out to be the next frontier.
Exploratory Missions: Countries both in collaborative and competitive spirit are sending deep space missions to explore newer territories and solve the greater mysteries of origin and evolution.
Commercialisation: Government space agencies along with private companies like SpaceX are working all out to make sure that the sky doesn’t stay the limit. Private Companies such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are promoting space tourism
Defense: The protection of vital space infrastructure and the capabilities to destroy the enemy infrastructure are being tested and developed by countries including India (ASAT) so as not to be caught unaware
Technologies: Be it the precision in ground navigation (NavIC, Beidou) or the relay of day-to-day communication, nations are in a tug-of-war to develop sophisticated technologies so that they can become self-reliant and self-sufficient
But these things are not something that is new. Space has been in focus since the times of the Cold War and we could witness the space race even in those times.
Be it the race to reach the space first or land first on the moon
The only difference is, that earlier there were two mega-entities (i.e., the USA and allies, and the USSR) that gathered all the attention while the other newly born countries were learning to walk after being crippled by colonialism. But now, we can see such technologies developed by such nations as well.
India depicting its capabilities in inter-planetary missions such as Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan
Private industry in Israel preparing to reach the far side of the moon
The newer technologies that are developed in such high-stakes missions have also been used for civilian purposes, which has in many ways improved civilian life.
But the already scarce resources of our planet should not be wasted in infighting among the earthlings.
Rather, a collaborative approach would be far more fruitful, as concerns like space debris and Kessler syndrome, climate change and weather anomalies, etc. are upon every one of us, collectively.
Thus, “Spacecraft” should not be confused with “Warcraft” and be considered as a separate frontier, rather than the next frontier.