One of the great challenges about having a space weapons treaty is the fact just about everything used as a “space weapon” is used for something else as well. And at some point, it all starts here on terra firma.
The link addresses one of these multi-use technologies which can have the effect of a space weapon. In this case, it is a ground based laser which can degrade–or worse–a satellite’s effectiveness. Of course, lasers can also be used for calibrating equipment and precision satellite tracking. So how would a treaty cover this form of “space weapon”? How would the treaty be verified? These are pretty tough questions.
Put a few high-powered lasers on mobile systems and its possible you could likely create some serious space domain degradation. And would you consider the trucks used to dispatch the lasers as space weapons? Just something to think about…
According to some estimates from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, if a satellite with a one-meter resolution was dazzled by a 1000 watt laser focused by a .15-m mirror, that dazzling would affect surveillance of a ground (or sea) area about 120 square miles. In the same scenario, even your laser pointer–with its one milliwatt of power–could “dazzle out” about 350 square yards of surveillance.
Wired has some good stuff as well.