Space Pirates were either an individual or organized group that committed acts of robbery or other acts of violence for private ends in space. Under United Earth Government and Deep Space Colonial law, space piracy was considered an act of terrorism, punishable by death or life imprisonment. Space piracy was only a recent phenomena, having started during the Reconstruction Era, and remained a threat well until the end of the Third Robotech War.
Space pirates were reportedly based throughout the solar system and deep space, maintaining make-shift headquarters within ruined husks of starships, or hollowed out asteroids that were converted to starbases. These bases were often deceptively hidden, and carried ample amount of firepower and defensive countermeasures.
Many, if not most of their technology were salvaged or captured hardware; oftentimes old Zentraedi Battle Pods, or newer mecha or veritechs, depending on availability. Space pirates, similar to Zentraedi Malcontents, were left build unique designs from scrap and mismatched parts. The local term to describe these unusual designs was "Franken-Mecha". It wasn't surprising if forces of the Cosmic Unit or Tactical Armored Space Corps would encounter old VF-1A Valkyrie fighter outfitted with missile packs of a Zentraedi Queadluun-Rau Power Armor.
Space pirates, more often than not, suffered from a lack of viable protoculture fuel source, which necessitated frequent raids to civilian or military supply vessels. This created a thriving black market, one that was reported to be equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product of a small nation.
Space pirates favored targeting supply ships carrying protoculture, foodstuffs, and other valuable material. The loss of these vessels prompted the United Earth Forces to assemble task forces to hunt down and neutralize the threat.
Space piracy became a noticeable threat following the Reconstruction Era, and during the Pioneer Mission and the early colonization efforts. Many of the remaining and operational Zentraedi ships that survived the destruction of the Grand Fleet resorted to various acts of space piracy. Human criminal organizations also formed following the rise of intersteller space travel and colonization.