Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has put a new space operations center into service.

Space is playing an increasingly important role in the question of one's own security, said the CDU politician in front of journalists and officers in Uedem, North Rhine-Westphalia.

The center is part of the Air Force Operations Center there.

The space operations center is called Air and Space Operations Center (ASOC) and aims to help protect satellites from interference and attacks.

In addition, it should observe missiles that could pose a threat to populated areas when they re-enter the atmosphere.

The operations center observes and catalogs space objects and the so-called space debris, which can pose a threat to other devices.

The center will initially have 50 experts and will grow to 150 employees by 2031.

The GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar) radar system tracks the orbits of space bodies.

It was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology (FHR) on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The TIRA space observation radar is used to observe objects more closely.

Telescopes are also available. 

No way to respond militarily in space

The infrastructure in near-earth space has become increasingly important for the functioning of technologies on earth - navigation, internet and telecommunications.

From the point of view of military experts, it makes little sense for Germany to separate air and space - regardless of the physical differences.

Germany is taking a different path than the great power USA, which has set up its own armed forces for space.

The USA is Germany's most important partner, and France is also in Europe. 

Unlike the USA, China and Russia, Germany has no capabilities to respond militarily to attacks in space there.

Weapon systems for this are simply not available to the Bundeswehr.

If the worst comes to the worst, the ground would react - initially diplomatically.

Attacks on satellites with laser beams are conceivable and then the necessary reactions to turn the technology out of the beam angle.

The technical defense is therefore passive.

However, data are also required for missile defense on the ground and for space reconnaissance of the activities of other states and powers.

These are documented in a so-called space situation.

Space weather - the current situation in the event of atmospheric disturbances - is also relevant for communication on Earth.