After the armistice, it was clear to both sides that the key to the next war was orbital superiority. For the Western Alliance, this was underlined by the destruction of the strategic air forces in the final raids; even after enduring a nuclear strike and command decapitation, Soviet air defense was able to stop conventional bombing attacks. The Soviet Union had a devastated capital to counter the arguments of the Air Marshals. Both sides had made it plain that extensive use of tactical nuclear weapons had changed the face of land and sea warfare forever. Across the board, it was accepted that expensive and extensive military assets were easily countered by much cheaper nuclear weapons, and the lions’ share of what military spending was left went to development of space assets.
The Western alliance had advanced rail based launch systems, whereas the Soviet bloc had developed advanced rocket capacity. Both immediately rushed to grab superiority with their homegrown systems, and to simultaneously catch up in the opponents systems.
For the next five years the soviet rocket forces and the newly reorganized United States Aerospace force were able to loft communication and spy satellites and frantically competed to develop survivable manned vehicles; By early 1956, both sides had developed maneuverable orbital fighters and, more critically, preliminary launch platforms for nuclear weapons. Still grudgingly at peace Earthside, both were involved in discreet campaigns to destroy the unmanned orbital assets of their opponents. By 1958, however, it was clear to both sides that unmanned assets in orbit were ineffective due to the ease of their destruction; unsurprisingly, both sides finally deployed manned platforms which were attacked and destroyed by their opponents.
Next : The first Orbital War.