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Space ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) is about space situational awareness.

Given the security risks associated with space projects, the U.S. military has stepped up its space ISR operations, especially in the area of space-based weapons.

For example, space-based anti-satellite systems are satellites that target other space systems. Concepts for space-based anti-satellite systems vary widely and include designs to deliver a spectrum of reversible and non-reversible counterspace effects.

These concepts span from simple interceptions to complex space robotics systems, and can include kinetic kill vehicles, radiofrequency jammers, lasers, chemical sprayers, high-power microwaves and robotic mechanisms.

The reality is that satellite command and data distribution networks expose space systems, ground infrastructure, users, and the links connecting these segments to cyber threats. Foreign competitors are capable of conducting electronic attacks to disrupt, deny, deceive or degrade space services.

Space ISR modalities help here as well. Jamming, for example, prevents users from receiving intended signals and can be accomplished by two primary methods: uplink jamming and downlink jamming.

Uplink jamming is directed toward the satellite and must operate at the same frequency and approximate power level at the target signals. Effects can be widespread.

Downlink jamming, on the other hand, is directed at users on the ground with a more localized effect.

However, space analysts feel that space ISR should not solely rely on satellites but should take into account any sort of limits or influence against on-orbit assets. For instance, the use of images to support targeting evaluation could be disrupted by enemies that have capable counter-Space assets or jamming devices.

A factor to be considered is that the oldest generation of satellites does not have equipment for anti-jamming or self-protection.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Space ISR Training, a 2-day workshop where participants learn about one of the most important and crucial aspects in NATO operations – Space Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Participants learn about the many different sources of intelligence available including some of the most effective means of data collection from space in which ISR assets gather information to support operational commanders at all levels.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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