As the space race is becoming more and more heated, some might fear that a misunderstanding between the three notable space-capable nations may lead to disaster here on Earth. Attempting to avoid that, the U.S. and China have established a space hotline.
As China is busy testing its anti-satellite capabilities, and Russia is also working on improving its space attack and defense platforms, people have started to worry that any type of miscommunication could potentially start an outright war between the two nations.
Since the U.S. and Russia already had an established hotline leading all the way back to the Cold War, steps have been taken in order to ensure that nothing bad will happen because of an error in communication. Thus the Space Hotline was born.
Previously, all space-related messages between the two countries would be lost in bureaucracy hell for a while, before finally being delivered.
Pre-Space Hotline, the formal ways of communication between the two would be the following: a message would be sent from the Joint Space Operations Center to the Pentagon; from there it would go to the State Department, then to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and from there, finally, to the Chinese Government.
Of course, the reply would have to go through the same channels, in the opposite order.
With the new Space Hotline in place, many a misunderstanding can be solved quite easily, with a simple phone call. The idea is not new, as the United States’ hot line with Russia prevented anything going horribly wrong during the great missile crisis.
Another factor that encouraged the creation of the hotline was the destruction of a satellite by China in 2007. The continuation of their work on satellite-incapacitating technologies has prompted the U.S. to take measures, as the fall of even one of its most important satellites could lead to a shut-down of the defense and even intelligence systems.
Even though an attempt has been made to keep space a weapon-free environment, the development of space weapons by all three major space-capable powers has deemed that attempt fruitless. However, with the new hotline in place, Russia, China and the U.S. have a means to prevent any unwanted, accidental aggression.
Nevertheless, the hotline is still just a system operated by man. It does not account for human mistake, or intentional sabotage. If a war were to start, it could happen even with the hotline firmly in its place.
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