Humanity may have conducted its first-ever fight in space last week after Israel claims its air force shot down an "aerial threat" outside of the Earth's atmosphere.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) claims that it shot down a surface-to-surface missile allegedly fired from Yemen on October 30 using its Arrow system. According to the Telegraph, the missile flew almost 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) before the missile-defense system shot it down. Details of the incident are few, but the Telegraph reports that it took place above the official boundary of space, known as the Kármán Line, 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth. If true, this would likely be the first ever military fight in space. Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility for the missile launch.
According to Israeli Aerospace Industries, the Arrow 2 interceptor can intercept and destroy incoming tactical ballistic missiles and is "designed to operate in the atmosphere, and out [in] space", though this is the first time such capabilities appear to have been tested. The Arrow system, according to Haaretz, has only been used twice in operations in 25 years and has come under criticism for its enormous cost.
"The successful interception is about much more than protecting the residents of Eilat and dealing a blow to the Houthis’ boastfulness,” an Israeli defense official told Haaretz, going on to claim that Iran had backed the attack. “Primarily, it proves to Iran, which was behind the launch and supplied the missile, that Israel has the ability to act against its missile program, and this has much broader implications for the regional conflict.”