Amid the growing the competition between the world powerful countries in the space, France has begun its first space military exercises to test its ability to defend its satellites.

  • Exercise
    • The exercise drills are codenamed “AsterX” to commemorate the first French satellite Asterix from 1965.
    • AsterX exercises are part of France’s strategy to become the world’s third-largest space power, after the United States of America and China.
    • AsterX space military exercises are the first ever attempt not only for the French army but also for Europe.
    • Moreover, France has planned to develop anti-satellite laser weapons and to strengthen surveillance capabilities to close the gap with rivals; China and Russian Federation.
    • Aim of the Space Exercise
      • To monitor a potentially dangerous space object as well as threats to its own satellite from another foreign power possessing a considerable space force.
    • Participants
      • Along with France, the new US Space Force and German space agencies are taking part in the exercises.
  • Backdrop
    • In the year 2018, Olymp-K, Russian satellite attempted to intercept transmissions from the Athena-Fidus satellite which is used by both Italian and French armies for secure communications. This was termed as an act of ‘espionage’.
      • In the year 2020, the USA also accused Russia of having “conducted a non-destructive test” of an anti-satellite weapon from space.
    • In the year 2019, France announced its Commandement de l’Espace (French Space Command).
      • It is set to have 500 personnel by 2025.
  • Similar Initiatives of India
    • IndSpaceEx: India’s first ever simulated space warfare exercise.
    • Mission Shakti: An Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test.

France conduct First Space Military Exercise France conduct First Space Military Exercise