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War in Space is Increasingly Possible. That Would be Terrible for Everyone

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The world is at the cusp of a “New Space Age.” Led by dynamic private-sector entrepreneurs pioneering new technologies and pursuing exciting new opportunities, the number of satellites has increased over the past five years by almost 50 per cent. This growth trend is expected to accelerate over the next decade.

While many of the most active “New Space” companies are based in the United States, other countries too are in this amazing race. Space start-ups are booming in India. Singapore and Luxembourg are investing in future space capabilities such as orbital debris removal and space resource extraction. Australia, for the first time, is setting up a national space agency. Canada’s 2017 national budget included $80.9 million in investment over the next five years for space projects, including quantum encryption of communications. In the near future, the world is looking at a jump from about 1,500 satellites to tens of thousands, providing services such as low-cost Earth imagery, global Internet connectivity, asteroid mining, and even Moon and Mars exploration.

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