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France’s First Space Military Exercise: AsterX

  • 12 Mar 2021
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Amid the growing competition among the world powers in the field of space, France has begun its first space military exercises to test its ability to defend its satellites.

Key Points

  • About the Exercise:
    • The exercise drills are codenamed "AsterX" to commemorate the first French satellite Asterix from 1965.
    • The exercises are part of France's strategy to become the world's third-largest space power, after the USA and China.
    • These space military exercises are the first ever attempt not only for the French army but also for Europe.
    • Moreover, France has planned to develop anti-satellite laser weapons and to strengthen surveillance capabilities to close the gap with rivals; China and Russia.
    • Aim of the Exercise:
      • To monitor a potentially dangerous space object as well as threats to its own satellite from another foreign power possessing a considerable space force.
    • Participants:
      • Along with France, the new US Space Force and German space agencies are taking part in the exercises.
  • Background:
    • In 2018, Olymp-K, a Russian satellite attempted to intercept transmissions from the Athena-Fidus satellite which is used by both Italian and French armies for secure communications. This was termed as an act of ‘espionage’.
      • In 2020, the United States also accused Russia of having “conducted a non-destructive test” of an anti-satellite weapon from space.
    • In 2019, France announced its Commandement de l’Espace (CdE) (French Space Command).
      • It is set to have 500 personnel by 2025.
  • Similar Initiatives of India:

Source: IE

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