France has begun its first military exercises in space to test its ability to defend its satellites. Working with US Space Force and German space command, the French training drills were designed in response to the shifting global attitude towards space.
Michel Friedling, the head of France’s newly created Space Command said the exercises are a “stress-test of their systems. He said that they were a first for the French army and even a first in Europe. The exercise, codenamed “AsterX” in memory of the first French satellite from 1965, will be based on 18 simulated events in an operations room.
“A series of events appear and create crisis situations or threats against our space infrastructure, but not only this,” Fielding told reporters from the Space Command headquarters in Toulouse in southwest France.
The new US Space Force and German space agencies are taking part in the French exercises, which began on Monday and will run until Friday. Investments in the space programme are set to reach 4.3 billion Euros ($5 billion) over the 2019-2025 budget periods — a fraction of the amount spent by the United States or China. France’s Space Command was announced in 2019 and is set to number 500 people by 2025.