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Nuclear Weapons in Space: Behind the Headlines With Brian Weeden

By Rachel Jewett | March 5, 2024

      A few weeks ago, space security issues took center-stage in the news after reports of a nuclear satellite weapon. The White House confirmed that Russia is developing an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability, but said it’s not an active capability, and did not speak to any nuclear capabilities. 

      This raised a lot of questions — What would a nuclear weapon mean in space? Why would Russia pursue this? In this week’s On Orbit episode, we dig into these questions with Dr. Brian Weeden, chief program officer of the Secure World Foundation, an organization that works to promote secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of outer space. Weeden is an expert on space security issues and conducts research on issues like space debris, protecting space assets, and space governance. He explains the physical and geopolitical consequences of detonating a nuclear weapon in space, implications for the Outer Space Treaty, and how this situation has raised awareness of security issues in space.

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