France prepared on Friday to simulate an attack by a hostile force on one of its satellites in a war game scenario that the government said was less outlandishly futuristic than it might seem.
President Emmanuel Macron had to watch on the ground as his warlords began playing a four-day episode in which an unnamed space-capable force is attacking an allied nation in France and trying to take over a French communications satellite.
Germany, Italy and the United States are participating in the AsterX space war game at the French national space organization CNES in Toulouse, the first such exercise in France or Europe.
It is an opportunity to simulate the flight path of satellites, send backup satellites to correct a fault, control the transmission of sensitive data and temporarily or even shut down transmissions from hostile satellites.
The exercise scenario may be imaginary, Macron’s office said, but is far from unlikely.
The French government accuses Russia of bringing its intelligence-gathering satellite Olymp-K, also known as Louch, near the Franco-Italian Athena-Fidus satellite in 2017, which Defense Minister Florence Parly called “espionage.” .
Last year, the United States claimed that Russia had conducted non-destructive anti-satellite experiments from space.
According to the Macron office, there have been similar cases since then, but did not provide any details.
Prior to the start of the exercise, Macron led a space command meeting established in 2017 to implement the French military strategy in space.
“We need to have the means to act if we detect threats that weigh on our capabilities or allies,” Macron’s office said, adding that an attack on a satellite could disrupt the military’s communications network, for example.
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