France has started its first military activities in space to test its capacity to guard its satellites, in an indication of the developing rivalry between world forces in Earth’s circle. Michel Friedling, the top of France’s recently made Space Command, considered the activities a “stress test of our systems” and said they “were a first for the French army and even a first in Europe.”

Codenamed “AsterX” in a gesture to the first French satellite Asterix from 1965, the drills will reproduce the observing of a possible risky space object, just as a danger to a satellite. “A series of events appear and create crisis situations or threats against our space infrastructure, but not only this,” Friedling told columnists from the Space Command base camp in Toulouse in southwest France.

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The upgraded US Space Force and German space agencies are partaking in the French activities, which started on Monday and will run until Friday. France’s Space Command was declared in 2019 and is set to number 500 individuals by 2025. “Our allies and adversaries are militarizing space… we need to act,” Defense Minister Florence Parly said at that point.

She said that France intended to create hostile to satellite laser weapons and new observation abilities to close the hole with rivals China, Russia and the United States. Interests in the space program are set to arrive at 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) over the 2019-2025 spending time frame – a small portion of the sum spent by the United States or China.

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In 2018, France blamed Russia for attempting to block transmissions from a Franco-Italian satellite utilized by the two countries’ militaries for secure interchanges. The Russian satellite Louch-Olymp supposedly moved toward the Athena-Fidus satellite in what French specialists called “a demonstration of surveillance.”

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