When historians of the future chart humanity's military misadventures in space, they might conclude they began in earnest last month. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world's big powers are ploughing serious resources into weaponry, systems and, in the case of the United States, a new military branch intended to fight outside Earth's atmosphere.

On March 22, India announced the highest profile test of an anti-satellite weapon in more than a decade. Earlier in the month, the Pentagon announced a 20 percent uplift in military space spending as part of its 2020 budget, asking the U.S. Congress for $14.1 billion.

While the lion's share of that will go on the U.S. Air Force and other existing agencies, next year should also see the first personnel join the initial headquarters of a new U.S. Space Force. Proposals unveiled on March 1 show $2 billion earmarked for the fledgling military service over the next five years, going from a few hundred personnel next year to 15,000 by 2025.