Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport that launched an earlier anti-satellite test.

Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport that launched an earlier anti-satellite test. Roscosmos

The Air & Space Brief: ‘Juicy’ targets; Quantum threat; North Korea space conference; and more...

Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:  

Russia’s ASAT launch is adding urgency to the U.S. Space Force’s efforts to defend U.S. space assets. “What we’re seeing Russia demonstrate is a weapon. If they can destroy a Russian satellite, they can destroy an American satellite,” U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno said Wednesday at the Ascend space conference in Las Vegas. “It’s not just Russia, it’s China as well.”

China has become a major player in quantum computing and will likely collect encrypted American data in hopes to eventually decrypt it when quantum-enabled codebreakers arrive, Booz Allen warned in a recent report. China has lagged behind the U.S. in quantum computing capabilities but made the technology one of its primary areas of focus in 2016, and is expected to surpass the U.S. in capabilities by the mid-2020s. 

North Korea held its Symposium on Space Science and Technology, gathering North Korean scientists and academics to discuss satellite development, navigation and control, synthetic aperture radar, and satellite cameras, the government’s official news service reported. The conference has taken place annually since 2014, and follows its launch in September of a hypersonic missile, NK News reported. 

Blue Origin’s next customers, revealed: Jeff Bezos’ space company said Tuesday that its upcoming Dec. 9 flight “will include two honorary guests and four paying customers.” The guests? ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly to space. The four paying customers are space industry executive Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, and the father-son launch pair, Lane Bess and son Cameron Bess

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Nov. 23, 1963, the first episode of TV series “Dr. Who” aired, titled “An Unearthly Child.”

From Defense One

China May Steal Encrypted Data Now to Decrypt In Years to Come, Report Warns // Brandi Vincent: Quantum computers promise to render today's encryption largely obsolete. A Booz Allen report says it's time to start managing the risks.

Pentagon Scrambles to Defend ‘Juicy Targets’ After Rivals’ Space Tests // Tara Copp: U.S. Space Force is taking Russia’s destruction of its own satellite as a warning.