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Militarization of space

Space junk

Space junk

Space, specifically Earth’s orbit, is being increasingly militarized. Orbital technologies provide significant advantages in communications, surveillance, targeting, intelligence, coordination, and, with time, potentially weaponization. The US, as a part of its strategy of ‘full spectrum dominance’ has sought to take advantage of its lead in space by creating facts on the ground (perhaps a bad phrase in this case…) by establishing the norms of space conduct as well as creating a commanding position for itself in orbit before more national players seriously join the space race.

According to the Join Vision 2020 report, “The label full spectrum dominance implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronized operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains – space, sea, land, air, and information.  Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance.” This report was written for the US military.

The Defense Industry Daily has more on the militarization of space:

In January 2001, a commission headed by then US Defense Secretary-designate Donald Rumsfeld warned about a possible “space Pearl Harbor” in which a potential enemy would launch a surprise attack against US-based military space assets, disabling them. These assets include communications satellites and the GPS system, which is crucial for precision attack missiles and a host of military systems.

“The US is more dependent on space than any other nation. Yet the threat to the US and its allies in and from space does not command the attention it merits,” the commission warned.

One of the systems that grew out of the commission’s report was the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) project, which is developing a constellation of satellites to provide the US military with space situational awareness using visible sensors. Recent developments for the project include a $30 million contract for Boeing to provide maintenance and operations services for the SBSS logistics infrastructure.

  1. January 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Nima,

    This is just incredible. While Obama’s health care reform is on the verge of being thrown out, $30 million is being provided by he U.S. Military for space Surveillance? Forgive the socialist in me, but this all seems a little oblivious with social programs so underfunded and with another projected economic collapse on the horizon.

    Well written Nima!

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