Recently i was watching the movie "The martian" where

Mark Watney has to take a rover on an unauthorized trip on what is considered international waters (because space can't be claimed by a country) and therefore is a space pirate

and that got me wondering, has something like that ever happened in real life, where someone (a person or organization) has became a space pirate, or a space thief?


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Not in a physical sense. Aside from the technical challenges (which are immense), a lack of interoperability and lack of in-space reprocessing and manufacturing facilities has so far made that sort of activity not worth the effort.

However, the United States and Russia (and probably China and some others) are working on defense programs that have some rendezvous and proximity ops (RPO) abilities. There is no open-source reporting that anyone has used these against unwilling targets yet, but if/when that does occur, I suppose you could think of it as a sort of piracy.

There have also been some efforts at civilian RPO activities such as the Mission Extension Vehicle: https://www.northropgrumman.com/space/space-logistics-services/. Those capabilities could conceivably be used for "space piracy" though you likely wouldn't end up actually controlling the target other than in a physical sense, unless you also hack it.

Which brings me to hacking, or non-physical piracy. That absolutely has occurred, see e.g. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/chinese-hack-us-weather-systems-satellite-network/2014/11/12/bef1206a-68e9-11e4-b053-65cea7903f2e_story.html.


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