France announces the creation of its “Space Force”, a space commandment
– News of July 16, 2019 –
In a speech to the Armed Forces pronounced on July 13, french president Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a space commandment within the air force, charged to ensure the deployment of a new doctrine that takes a number of recent developments. So far, the Earth’s orbit has mainly been seen by armies as the playground of spy satellites but in recent years we see appear everywhere around the world much more aggressive use such as anti-satellite weapons tested from the ground, satellites that spy on each other or mysterious space shuttles capable of maneuvering into orbit for years.
The announcement of the French government is therefore far from isolated. In the United States, Donald Trump’s administration has been fighting for the creation of a similar structure for years, the US Space Force (USSF). In France, this new space commandment will first have to focus on launching the CSO and CERES satellites, which will renew the capabilities of space intelligence. Like CO3D, some of them are supposed to take off with a Vega launcher. The first failed launch of Vega on July 16, 2019 is already a issue for the new structure. Vega is also to launch the Space Rider, the European automatic shuttle. The military probably also sees in it a very interesting spacecraft.
On the ground it is not excluded that France will develop in the coming years its own anti-satellite weapons. The National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research has some experience in offensive lasers. Such weapons could be used not to destroy their target but to blind them, which is an infinitely preferable option to avoid multiplying space debris.