Preparing France for space warfare: the European AsterX exercise


Find out how Exercise AsterX is strengthening France’s space warfare capabilities, with a focus on international collaboration and technological innovation.

France is positioning itself at the forefront of space defense initiatives with Exercise AsterX, a European simulation designed to prepare aerospace forces for potential orbital conflicts. Reflecting the growing militarization of space, this exercise underscores the growing importance that nations attach to the security of space infrastructures, fundamental to surveillance, communication and navigation.

The strategic importance of space

Space has become a contested domain, where satellites and advanced technologies play a crucial role in military operations. The growing dependence on space systems for applications such as ballistic missile detection, navigation and strategic targeting underlines the importance of securing this environment. The value of the space economy, growing by 8% to reach 546 billion dollars in 2022, attests to this strategic importance.

The French Space Command and the AsterX exercise

Created in 2019, the French military space command aims to strengthen security awareness in space and protect its satellites. With 91 satellites in orbit by 2023, France leads the European Union in terms of space presence. The AsterX exercise is crucial to developing this command, which aspires to full operational capability by 2030. Simulating confrontations with hostile entities equipped with considerable space resources, this exercise enables France to fine-tune its defense strategies and interaction with allies such as the USA, the UK, Japan and South Korea.

Artist Illustration of AsterX
Artist Illustration of AsterX

Simulation scenarios and operational readiness

The exercise reproduces situations where hostile satellites threaten allied space assets, a scenario based on real capabilities. Participants, including actors from 15 countries, are confronted with a variety of threats, from jammed communications to aggressive maneuvers by enemy satellites. Managing these incidents in real time enhances operators’ preparedness for a potential space conflict, accentuating the importance of flawless responsiveness and coordination.

Towards a secure future in space

France’s ultimate goal, through initiatives such as AsterX, is to develop a common culture of space operations with its allies, guaranteeing a coordinated and effective response to any threat. This involves rapidly upgrading personnel skills, expanding ground surveillance capabilities and putting patrol satellites into orbit. These efforts are aimed at preventing catastrophic scenarios where unregulated conflicts could lead to massive satellite losses and the proliferation of orbital debris.

The AsterX exercise highlights the complex dynamics of space defense, and the importance of preparedness and international collaboration in maintaining the security and functionality of space. With the stakes so high, France and its partners continue to strengthen their capabilities, ready to meet the future challenges of space militarization. Progress towards full operational capability and the integration of new technologies are essential steps in ensuring that space remains a safe and open environment for all nations.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.