Developments in space, including the rise of new capabilities targeting space assets, have increased the domain’s relevance to peace and security. Here are some of SIPRI’s recent analyses on space security, including a new video series on space systems and nuclear escalation pathways.
New video series on space systems and nuclear escalation pathways
SIPRI is pleased to launch a new SIPRI Conversation video that explains the role of space systems in nuclear deterrence.
The video features the voices of Nivedita Raju and Dr Tytti Erästö, experts from the SIPRI Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programme, who explain why real and perceived threats to space systems could serve as catalysts for nuclear escalation.
Watch the video here.
Space systems and nuclear deterrence
In September 2023, SIPRI published a report that analyses the critical interplay between space systems, military operations and the potential for nuclear escalation. The report explores the multiple civilian and military uses of space systems, including missions related to nuclear deterrence.
The report also underscores the vulnerability of space systems to a spectrum of counterspace capabilities. China, Russia and the United States, possessing both nuclear capabilities and counterspace capabilities, face the risk of being drawn into conflicts through regional tensions and global power competition.
The findings of the report lay the groundwork for a deeper analysis of potential escalation pathways and the formulation of risk-reduction measures for policymakers.
Gender perspectives in space security
Despite ongoing discussions on space security, there has been limited effort to assess the differentiated impacts of space threats, especially concerning gender.
This SIPRI Essay, by Nivedita Raju and Dr Wilfred Wan, Director of the SIPRI WMD Programme, explores why women’s voices and gender-based vulnerabilities need to be better reflected in space security governance.
They emphasize that space-based systems, including communications satellites, play a crucial role in the daily lives of people worldwide, and any damage or disruption to these assets could have severe consequence. The essay offers three recommendations for states to consider as they look to incorporate gender perspectives in space security.
About the SIPRI Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme
The SIPRI WMD Programme seeks to contribute to the understanding of trends and developments pertaining to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It considers the related implications for an increasingly complex security landscape and seeks to identify approaches to address the risks and challenges WMD pose.
Click here to read more about the SIPRI WMD Programme.