Secure Communications and the Militarization of Space

Looking down upon us are a seemingly never-ending array of satellites providing navigational, weather, and communication services. Nations now rely on satellites as an ever-increasing part of critical infrastructure for military and emergency services.

On 11 January 2007, some 11+ years ago, China sent a shot across the bow of all nations who rely on satellites for defense and national infrastructure. According to Rick Sanford, Vice President Strategy and Business Development at BridgeSat, Inc., on that date, China intentionally destroyed one of its own defunct weather satellites known as the “Fengyun-1C.”

They destroyed the satellite with an “anti-satellite” (ASAT) device they had been working on since 2005, which they shot into space aboard a ballistic missile, and directed the ASAT to barrel into the Fengyun-1C – destroying both the satellite and the ASAT into 900+ pieces of space debris.

The militarization of space had begun.

Fast forward to early September 2018. France’s Defense Minister, Florence Parly, said a Russian satellite, the Louch-Olymp (Olymp-K) had approached the Athena-Fidus in 2017 for the purpose of intercepting the satellite’s communications. Signals-Intelligence (SIGINT) collection of this type is an act of espionage, noted Parly.

The French Italian civil-military satellite, “Athena-Fidus” is located in geostationary orbit some 36,000 miles above the Indian Ocean, and provides via its 14 antennas operating within the government Ka band encrypted broadband communications, at three gigabytes per second.

Parly made sure there was no ambiguity as she called out Russia’s abnormal behavior, describing it as an act of space aggression. She stated, “We are well aware that other major players in space are deploying intriguing objects into orbit, experimenting with potential offensive capabilities, conducting maneuvers which leave no doubt as to their aggressive intent.”

In October 2017, the United States called out (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Cylance Blog authored by Christopher Burgess. Read the original post at:

Christopher Burgess

Christopher Burgess

Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is a writer, speaker and commentator on security issues. He is a former Senior Security Advisor to Cisco and served 30+ years within the CIA which awarded him the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal upon his retirement. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century”. He also founded the non-profit: Senior Online Safety.

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