The Conversation

Russia is building a new ground-based laser facility for interfering with satellites orbiting overhead, according to a recent report in The Space Review. The basic idea would be to dazzle the optical sensors of other nations’ spy satellites by flooding them with laser light.

Laser technology has evolved to the point where this type of anti-satellite defense is plausible, though there is limited evidence of any nation successfully testing such a laser.

If the Russian government is able to build the laser, it would be capable of shielding a large part of the country from the view of satellites with optical sensors. The technology also sets the stage for the more ominous possibility of laser weapons that can permanently disable satellites.