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10.21.20
Crash Course

Experts: This Is What Actual Space Battles Will Be Like

__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Off World
Image via NeedPix/Victor Tangermann

Orbital Dogfights

As countries around the world continue to militarize space, experts are beginning to envision what an actual off-world clash might look like.

Unfortunately, dogfights among spacecraft zipping around like in Star Wars are out, Ars Technica reports. Rather, according to a new report published by the Aerospace Corporation, space battle is likely to be way slower, more deliberate, and even a little clunky.

Stay The Course

The challenge, the report says, is that space operations need to be planned well in advance. And once a satellite is in orbit, it can’t just change direction or careen around like a fighter plane. That makes the likelihood of a spontaneous skirmish in space much less likely than on Earth.

“Any conflict in space will be much slower and more deliberate than a Star Wars scene,” report author and Aerospace Corp project engineer Rebecca Reesman told Ars. “It requires a lot more long-term thinking and strategic placement of assets.”

Incoming!

The most likely form of space combat? Steering a satellite into an enemy satellite’s orbit and crashing them into each other, Ars reports.

But even then, there’s a strong incentive to just leave well enough alone: Any satellites destroyed in orbit would release a shower of dangerous space debris that just make things more dangerous for everyone.

READ MORE: This is what “war in space” probably would look like in the near future [Ars Technica]

More on space combat: The Pentagon Is Quietly Working on a Military Space Station Outpost