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Article  Humanity just witnessed its first space battle (2023 Israel–Hamas war)

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INTRO: Early last week, Israel’s Arrow 2 missile system successfully intercepted and destroyed a suborbital ballistic missile suspected of launching from Yemen. It’s a notable technological achievement, but one with potentially serious legal and geopolitical implications.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) shot down an Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile using its Arrow 2 anti-missile system, Haaretz reported. The incident happened on Tuesday, October 31, with Yemeni forces possibly targeting Eilat, an Israeli city on the coast of the Red Sea. The Telegraph claims the missile was intercepted and destroyed above the Kármán line, which at 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level is widely recognized as the boundary of space.

There have been many earlier instances of missile-on-missile interceptions above the Kármán, according to Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell. However, all previous cases involved interceptors targeting missiles launched by the same party for testing purposes, whereas this is the first occurrence of a missile successfully intercepting an incoming missile from an adversary in space, McDowell, an expert on space launches, explained to Gizmodo over email.

Ballistic missile defense systems generally engage threats within the Earth’s atmosphere. While anti-satellite tests have demonstrated higher-altitude capabilities, such as those conducted by the U.S., Russia, China, and India, these have been distinct from intercepting a missile in flight.

“There is currently insufficient information available to verify [this] situation,” Tomas Hrozensky, a senior research fellow at the European Space Policy Institute, explained to Gizmodo in an email. That said, mid-range ballistic missiles can fly at heights well above 62 miles, and the “Arrow system is considered as a de-facto counterspace capability due to its nature of high-altitude interceptions,” he added.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack... (MORE - details)

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