With a new space operations center, the Bundeswehr wants to make a military contribution to security in space. To this end, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will put the new Air and Space Operations Center (ASOC) into service today, Monday, in the Air Force Operations Center in Uedem (North Rhine-Westphalia), as the Bundeswehr announced. It is intended to help protect satellites from interference and attacks and also to observe missiles that could pose a threat to populated areas when they re-enter the atmosphere.
Don’t miss any news! With our daily newsletter you will receive all the news from heise online for the past 24 hours every morning.
Subscribe to the newsletter now
The operations center observes and catalogs space objects and the so-called space debris, which can be dangerous for other devices. The center will start with 50 experts and should grow to 150 employees by 2031. Existing skills in Center for Air Operations merged.
Be like that with the GESTRA radar system (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar) tracks the orbits of space bodies. It was developed on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology (FHR). To then take a closer look at objects, will the space observation radar TIRA used. Telescopes are also available.
Critical infrastructure in space
The infrastructure in near-earth space has become increasingly important for the functioning of technologies on earth – navigation, internet and telecommunications. From the point of view of military experts, it makes little sense for Germany to separate air and space – regardless of the physical differences. Germany is taking a different path than the great power USA, which has set up its own armed forces for space. The USA is Germany’s most important partner, and France is also in Europe.
Unlike the USA, China and Russia, Germany has no capabilities to respond militarily to attacks in space there. Weapon systems for this are simply not available to the Bundeswehr. If the worst comes to the worst, the ground would react – initially diplomatically. Attacks on satellites with laser beams are conceivable, and then the necessary reactions to turn the technology away from the beam angle. The technical defense is therefore passive.
However, data are also required for missile defense on the ground and for space reconnaissance of the activities of other states and powers. These are documented in a “space situation”. “Space weather” – the current situation in the event of atmospheric disturbances – is also relevant for communication on Earth.