The following is the principle operating clause of the Space Weapons Treaty which was signed into law (such as it is) in January 1967.
States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of
mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.
The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military
bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military maneuvers on celestial bodies shall be
forbidden. The use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The use of any equipment
or facility necessary for peaceful exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies shall also not be prohibited.
With the SWT in place, the principle problem with putting any weapons into orbit is literally that of having nuclear systems fail on either launch or
reentry, spraying down large areas and/or possibly leaving recoverable fragments.
While any weapon on an orbital track is potentially useful as a function of being rapidly in place to service a threat (an hour or two later) there
are severe limitations of mechanic in terms of inclination and retrograde relative to both the target and the rest of the /hundreds/ of satellites now
in orbit. Space Command's principle activity in fact is that of coordinating and managing orbital useage among the international community.
And we can usually image both the inside and the outside of target vehicles within minutes to determine mass (radio-isotopes are heavy as well as
radioactive) and associated propellant fraction for orbital maneuver.
If something looks like it could chase a meteor, it probably can and the only uses for such systems are either avoidance/retasking (recce) and
Which would instantly add to the native suspicions based on orbital geometry and size of booster involved (ELV's are so expensive that to launch
purely for national means is rare UNLESS the payload needs the whole bay and that raises eyebrows from the start).
About the best you can hope for is some kind of white-cloud equivalent system phenomena wherein you immediately bus out high energy separation sub
platforms during or shortly after principle boost and hope that you can get it done before somebody in a spacewatch ship around your coasts or in one
of the various southern hemisphere locations images it. Assuming you are not already under covert observation from one of the HEO or GEO black
constellations that are kept hush hush.
If you painted it black, made it out of 'Russian Oak' (or like stealth absorbers) and got it high enough, fast enough, theoretically you could
station SMALL payloads (the Russians never really master OT staging techniques like we did) beyond immediate observation.
But it would be a /huge/ risk.
For all these reasons (Cost, Orbital Maneuver Lag, Covertness) I would not waste the money on orbiting conventional weapons either. If you want Pizza
Hut delivery times, simply fill the casing on a Trident or Minuteman with conventionals and lob away while retaining the ability to have redeployment
at a fraction of the total costs of maintaining an effective constellation.
The Russians have illuminated our satellites with laser out of Sary Shagan and a couple other places on the Iranian border several times. Once they
even sent the thing offline for a few days. They don't need to put HK weapons in orbit to destroy at least our photo-gatherers. Given that WE are
the ones with the majority of global-connectivity/global-watch risked overhead assets in play, it hardly makes sense to press our luck with secret
weapons when it is cheaper (on a yearly ops account basis) to simply forward deploy an existing carrier group than it is to push a whole bunch of 4-8
shot RFG wonder weapons into space.
THE BEST insurance against anyone being /stupid/ is still the certainty that any attack on our soil or that of our Allies (with WMD) will bring the
full weight of U.S. nuclear response in kind. If they are willing to risk that, then they are more likely to do it with a SADM or equivalent
'suitcase' weapon and for that, the sneak-fast decapitation option of weapons in orbit becomes effectively worthless anyway.
In terms of returning to the moon, I presume that is where we would get the necessary propellant for any major militarization of space with present
day technology. But frankly, I expect the global economy to collapse long before any of NASA's wet dream fantasies eventuate and once we are back at
the horse and buggy level, we will be lucky to keep basic telecomms functional, let alone squabble over whose overhead get's whacked from the ground
and 'Why we need more-more-more!'.
Going /anywhere/ off planet is more a function of a cultural commitment to doing something with our collective destiny as a sapient species than a
military need, despite what you hear about space being the 'highest frontier'. And that kind of change in mindset would likely require us to
abandon the utter waste that is (nationalist-independent, large-scale, not police-force UN) military expenditures altogether to achieve.
At which point, it may well be just as simple to build in orbit here and go straight to _Mars_ (with nuclear electric propulsion) as to make any
pitstop activities on a 1/4 gravity world, 240,000 miles out.
In any case, until we master particle physics to get to fusion. Fusion to get to quantum field mechanics for agrav. And field theory to understand
the nature of space-time and FTL, our ability to do much with the Great Wide Nothin' is going to be a case of elitist tourism at best.