Keeping Space Safe

New PRIF Report by Max M. Mutschler on the dangers of an arms race in space and the possibilities of international cooperatation to forestall a negative development

What would be the consequences of an arms race in space? At worst, it could lead to a war in space that might involve earth as well. But even if there was no war to occur, the debris resulting from weapon testing could severely affect space safety. Thus, the question is, how to prevent states from an arms race in space?


In PRIF Report No. 98 Keeping Space Safe. Towards a long-term strategy to arms control in space Tübingen PhD student Max M. Mutschler considers the negative consequences of an arms race and argues for the establishment of an international arms control regime for space. So far, states do not seem to have realized that unilateral actions such as weapon testing in space do not enhance their security. Furthermore, the EU’s proposal for a Code of Conduct in space does not address the impediments to international cooperation properly. Therefore, the author maps out a long-term strategy that tackles the central problems that must be solved to reach arms control in space: Cheating and the unequal distribution of gains. Verification and issue linkage as constituents of the considered arms control regime for space could solve these problems.


In conclusion Mutschler demands a transnational process of knowledge-building on the dangers of warfare in space. Scientists from the major space-faring nations should be involved in this process which could be initiated by the EU.

The report can be ordered at PRIF for EUR 10,- and is also available as free pdf download.