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SWJ Blog
02-12-2011, 12:22 AM
This Week at War: Lost in Space (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/02/this-week-at-war-lost-in-space/)

Entry Excerpt:

Can the Pentagon afford to protect its orbital interests?

Here is the latest edition of my column at Foreign Policy (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/11/this_week_at_war_lost_in_space?page=0,0):

Topics include:

1) Will diplomacy and soft power be enough to defend space?

2) How many nukes does Pakistan need?

Will diplomacy and soft power be enough to defend space?

The U.S. Department of Defense released its first-ever National Security Space Strategy (http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2011/0111_nsss/docs/NationalSecuritySpaceStrategyUnclassifiedSummary_J an2011.pdf) (NSSS), on Feb. 4. The document "seeks to maintain and enhance the national security benefits" the United States derives from its activities and capabilities in space. This week, Gregory Schulte (http://www.defense.gov/bios/biographydetail.aspx?biographyid=255), deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, explained the new policy in an essay (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/09/the_final_frontier)for Foreign Policy. Schulte described the benefits the United States receives from a wide variety of surveillance, communications, and navigation satellites. He also noted the increasing competition among a growing number of players who are seeking their own advantageous positions in orbit. Schulte explained some clever diplomatic and soft-power strategies that U.S. officials hope will protect the country's space interests, along with some hedges in case the soft-power strategies fail. However, growing those hedges could get very expensive for the Pentagon.

Of greatest worry to the Pentagon is the vulnerability of its satellites to attack. In 2007, China shot down one of its old weather satellites with a direct-ascent missile, demonstrating its ability to threaten the space systems on which U.S. military forces depend. In addition to missile attack, many commercial and Defense Department satellites are also vulnerable to directed energy (laser) attack and to electronic jamming. U.S. adversaries may view attacks on U.S. satellites as a high-payoff/low-risk strategy. By attacking U.S. satellites, an adversary could hobble U.S. military forces without the usual indications of warfare, at least in the public's perception. For example, without any images of explosions, burning buildings, or wounded civilians, U.S. policymakers might find it difficult to generate political and diplomatic support for a military response.

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SWJ Blog
07-09-2011, 12:04 AM
STS-135: The Final Mission of the Space Shuttle (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/07/sts135-the-final-mission-of-th/)

Entry Excerpt:


National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Official Site (http://www.nasa.gov/home/)

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off on Final Mission (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Astronauts-Board-Shuttle-for-Final-Launch-125207034.html) - VOA
Atlantis Launches on Last Shuttle Mission (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/atlantis-launches-on-last-shuttle-mission/2011/07/08/gIQAoh1f3H_story.html?hpid=z2) - WP
Atlantis Launches on Final Shuttle Mission (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303544604576433822383063538.html) - WSJ
Atlantis Lifts Off for Last Space Shuttle Mission (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/science/space/09shuttle.html?_r=1&hp) - NYT
Space Shuttle Atlantis in Historic Final Lift-off (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14077893) - BBC
Weather Can't Keep Atlantis From its Final Adventure (http://www.stripes.com/weather-can-t-keep-atlantis-from-its-final-adventure-1.148702) - VOA
Shuttle Lifts Off for Last Time; `Light this Fire' (http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/U/US_SPACE_SHUTTLE?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT) - AP
Crowds at the Cape Say Farewell to Atlantis (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/08/eveningnews/main20077991.shtml) - CBS
Emotions Run High at Last Shuttle Launch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lde3xJgzeT8) - Reuters video
Shuttle’s Final Ride, Flickers of the Spirit That Started It All (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/science/space/09wilford.html?ref=us) - NYT
Does US Have a Future in Space? (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110708-space-shuttle-launch-atlantis-nasa-future-science/) - NG
Critics Have Doubts About NASA's Post-Shuttle Future (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/08/critics-have-doubts-about-nasas-post-shuttle-future/) - FOX
NASA Argues for 'Incredible Future' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14089850) - BBC

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/07/sts135-the-final-mission-of-th/) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

02-28-2012, 03:43 AM
The government must take more seriously the threat of a nuclear weapon being exploded in space by a rogue state, MPs have warned.

The Defence Select Committee said the resulting radiation pulse could disrupt power and water supplies, UK defence and satellite navigation systems.

Its chairman, Tory MP James Arbuthnot, said an attack was "quite likely".

The committee is urging ministers to invest in more "hardened" technology to cope with such an event.

It looked at the threat to the UK's technological infrastructure from "electromagnetic pulse" (EMP) events in space, which could also include the eruption of solar flares.


02-28-2012, 02:45 PM
That's a 30 year old scare. It was questionable in regard to the USSR and is an idiocy indicator when used in combination with terrorists or Iran etc etc

Jason Sigger battled the scaremongers for a while:















and more, more, more...

Or this

I own an old book from about 1982, compiled by the FAS or some other scientists organisation (didn't see the book in a while). The chapter on EMP from 1982 mentioned that 4 500 kt (or was it 1 Mt?) warheads exploding in a patter over the U.S. at hundreds of kilometres altitude would have a good, but not at all all-frying effect on electronics.
It was a secondary concern when the USSR had thousands of nukes and operational SSBNs. It's a ridiculous concern now.

02-28-2012, 05:38 PM
Generally speaking, if Newt Gingrich is exercised about it (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/us/politics/gingrichs-electromagnetic-pulse-warning-has-skeptics.html?_r=1&ref=williamjbroad), it's not worth worrying about.

J Wolfsberger
02-28-2012, 06:52 PM
Well, the article at the BBC was written by someone with only a little knowledge of nuclear weapons, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) or Coronal Mass Ejections (CME). It pretty much reduces to "something bad could happen and somebody ought to do something about it." (Which is typical of FAS scaremongering.)

That said ...

Nuclear weapons could be used to generate a High-altitude Electro-Magnetic Pulse (HEMP) that would destroy or degrade a lot of electrical and electronic systems. How much and how widespread depends on the design and installation of the electrical/electronic device/system and the structure of the attack. The kind of damage the good MP is concerned about would take a pretty sophisticated attack. The yields and launch systems required rule out all but the US, Russia, and China. (Possibly the UK and France could be included.) The idea that a rogue state, such as N. Korea or Iran, could do that is ... bizarre.

CME is a serious threat, largely because the standard approaches to protecting electrical systems from everyday events, such as surges and lightening strikes, would be turned into a vulnerability. However, with sufficient warning, which we would have, the damage can be minimized by simply shutting down the power grid for a few to tens of hours. (Look up the Carrington Event, which was a CME striking the Earth.)

02-28-2012, 11:35 PM
Generally speaking, if Newt Gingrich is exercised about it (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/us/politics/gingrichs-electromagnetic-pulse-warning-has-skeptics.html?_r=1&ref=williamjbroad), it's not worth worrying about.


I really don't get the EMP crazies.

10-02-2012, 03:22 PM
An interview with a real naval analyst on what science fiction gets right and wrong on space warfare: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/28/aircraft_carriers_in_space


08-28-2014, 10:01 PM
Electromagnetic Warfare Is Here
A briefcase-size radio weapon could wreak havoc in our networked world

10-17-2017, 12:11 PM
Space, once seen as the benign final frontier, has evolved into a crowded potential battleground that the U.S. must defend as conflicts extend beyond Earth, according to the Air Force’s top military space official.

While officials once aspired to treat space as a peaceful refuge from the strife on Earth, it’s now “congested, contested and competitive”-- and “all three of those trends are trending upward,” General John W. “Jay” Raymond, the head of the Air Force Space Command, said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

From jamming and cyber attacks to “kinetic destruction,” there’s a “full range of threats” to U.S. early warning, Global Positioning System and communications satellites, Raymond said. Those threats come from economic and military rivals like China and Russia and include the increasing accumulation of debris orbiting the planet.


Most-Relevant pre-existing thread, now moribund.

01-09-2018, 02:43 PM
Because we need to be thinking in three dimensions, a stand-alone post until it's not.

Rhetorical question: incompetence or shenanigans?

A U.S. spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two U.S. officials briefed on the mission said on Monday.
The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The satellite is assumed to be "a write-off," one of the officials said.
The presumed loss of the satellite was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

For further reference, consult this currently locked thread
USAF Space Chief Sees Final Frontier as Battleground

02-15-2018, 08:44 AM
Russia and China are developing 'destructive' space weapons, US intelligence warns

Russia and China could soon possess "destructive" space weapons that could be used against the U.S., according to American intelligence agencies.
The two United Nations Security Council members are pursuing such "anti-satellite weapons as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness," the report said.https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/russia-china-developing-destructive-space-weapons-us-intelligence.html

12-04-2018, 01:43 PM
The Russian military says it successfully placed three classified communications satellites into orbit today, along with the upper stage of the rocket that put them there. But according to the U.S. military's Combined Space Operations Center, or CSpOC, a fifth object, possibly another, unannounced satellite, may have hitched a ride into space on the launch.


12-04-2018, 07:11 PM
I can see where this could have implications.

(CNN)NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission and the asteroid Bennu have had a date planned for two years, and just after noon ET today, they finally got to meet face to face. OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters for a small burn, putting it about 4.3 miles from Bennu, marking the end of its journey to the asteroid.

The mission -- which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer -- is NASA's first asteroid sample return mission. It launched in September 2016 and will spend two years up close and personal with Bennu. First images of the asteroid from the spacecraft's perspective have appeared as it got closer and closer.


12-10-2018, 01:00 PM

Others have explored the far side of the moon from afar, but Chinese researchers are hoping a soft landing on the dark side of the lunar surface will allow for more detailed study.

01-17-2019, 11:34 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring that space is the new warfighting domain, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed the U.S. will develop an unrivaled missile defense system to protect against advanced hypersonic and cruise missile threats from competitors and adversaries.

Trump said in a Pentagon speech that the U.S. will do what it takes “to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, any time, any place.”

Art imitates life. Life imitates art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtIuPWiPk9s