Space Battle Just Occurred For The First Time In Human History

By Jason Collins | Published

Works of fiction, such as Star Wars and Star Trek, show humanity’s fascination with battles occurring in the vacuum vastness of space. Now, for the first time in history, one such battle occurred, though not in a way a sci-fi fan might imagine. According to Gizmodo, the first space battle occurred when an Israeli defense system destroyed a ballistic missile above Earth’s atmosphere.

The Space Battle Was Caused By The Israel-Hamas War

The incident occurred on October 31 when Yemeni’s Houthi rebels, sympathetic to Hamas, fired a Qadar missile, possibly targeting Eilat, an Israeli city on the coast of the Red Sea. The Israeli Defense Force’s Arrow 2 missile system then successfully intercepted and destroyed the incoming suborbital ballistic missile system above the Karman line.

The Karman line is 62 miles, or 100 kilometers, above sea level, which is widely recognized as the boundary of space, and the first space battle in humanity’s history might have severe legal and geopolitical implications.

The Outer Space Treaty

The Outer Space Treaty, which is actually a treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, prohibits the placement of nuclear weaponry in space.

This includes other weapons of mass destruction as well, and none of them can be placed in orbit around Earth or on other celestial bodies. However, the OST doesn’t prohibit space battles using conventional weaponry, nor does it address the interception of missiles in space.

The Treaty Does Allow Space Battle


Most importantly, Article 3 of the OST states that the parties to the treaty shall act according to international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, which provides for the right to self-defense. So, the first instance of space battle in human history doesn’t actually violate any treaties—and one of the reasons OST was established is to prevent the weaponization of space and define liability for any space activity that causes harm or damage, whether on Earth or in space.

To be entirely honest, this isn’t the first time a missile-on-missile interception has occurred above the Karman line; however, all previous cases prior to this space battle involved interceptor targeting missiles launched by the same party for testing purposes. Unfortunately, from the perspective of humanity as a species that gazes starward, this is the first instance in which a missile intercepted an incoming missile fired by an adversary in space.

The Advancement Of Missile Defense Systems

Ballistic missile defense systems, like the one that just intercepted the ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels, typically engage threats within the Earth’s atmosphere. Previous anti-satellite tests have demonstrated higher-altitude capabilities, though these have been distinct from intercepting a missile in flight. But they do point towards the incredible technological and scientific advancement humanity has made in the past century—like the human echolocation aids and tear-powered smart contact lenses.  

Is The Future Of War In Space?

It’s important to note, especially for us down on Earth, that the space battle interception probably didn’t generate any dangerous orbital debris that might collide with other orbital tech or, even worse, start its journey downwards towards unsuspecting Earthlings going on about their days.