President George Bush is expected to issue a directive in the next few weeks giving the US air force a green light for the development of space weapons, potentially triggering a new global arms race.
The new weapons being studied range from hunter-killer satellites to orbiting weapons using lasers, radio waves, or even dense metal tubes dropped from space by a weapon known as 'Rods from God' on ground targets. Space warfare experts said they expected the new directive to signal a shift in attitude towards exploring ways of affirming US dominance in space militarily.
'Up to now, this has been a campaign by the air force to have the freedom to do what they want to do in space,' said Theresa Hitchens, vice-president of the Centre for Defence Information. 'This will, for the first time in US history, will give them the go-ahead.'
Ms Hitchens argued the directive would trigger an arms race in space. 'Let's think of a world where US has 'death stars' everywhere in space that are going over countries every 10 minutes. Do you think other countries are going to accept that?' she said....