Preliminary Space Wargame Scenario
It’s March 2029 and a good portion of America’s, Japan’s, and South Korea’s most important military and civilian space missions are no longer met by a few, large geosynchronous and semi-geosynchronous spacecraft but rather by tens of thousands of small, commercial, networked satellite systems flying in low-earth orbit. South Korea’s and America’s presidents have just been elected and agree to meet to discuss how best to deal with Pyongyang.
To challenge their will, North Korea tests a MIRVed intercontinental ballistic missile with the intent of terminating its flight well before it might trigger interceptors launched from America’s Alaska-based missile defense system. Something goes wrong and the missile flies further than planned, triggering the Alaska system but splashing down before it can be intercepted. This near hit alarms the American public and Washington. The President demands that Pyongyang park all of its mobile missiles in three agreed visible locations within North Korea and asks the UNSC to authorize a selective naval and air blockade of North Korea. Meanwhile, America’s President places U.S. strategic forces on high alert as North Korea mobilizes its entire military. Washington consults Seoul and Tokyo and then orders a series of air reconnaissance flights close to North Korean air space. North Korea warns that unless Washington stops all reconnaissance flights, stands down its nuclear alert, and agrees in advance to withdraw U.S. troops from the Peninsula, war will ensue.
On the same day, Pyongyang launches a road mobile solid-fueled rocket but instead of aiming it at a target on earth, the missile places an object in low earth orbit. North Korea announces that Washington and Seoul should be very worried that a nuclear explosive may be set off in space at any time. Beijing notes that North Korea has not yet broken any rules as there is no reason to believe that it has placed an object carrying nuclear weapons in space. The PRC calls for calm so it might host talks to resolve the “larger” crisis. It offers to arbitrate and warns the United States not to attack North Korea’s “satellite” with anti-satellite weapons until diplomacy can run its course.