Over the last two years our nation has witnessed a lively debate about the future of national security in terms of how we organize, train, and equip our American forces to prepare for conflict that extends into outer space. While the future capabilities of the Space Force and Space Development Agency remains to be seen, it is worth reflecting on what has brought us to this point and recognize the most significant threat to our preeminence in space, which is bureaucratic inertia slowing down innovative advances.
The Air Force increased 2020 budget push takes another step in an aggressive plan to prototype, test and deploy hypersonic weapons on an expedited schedule -- to defend against enemy attacks by fast-tracking an ability to launch high-impact, high-speed attacks at Mach. 5 - five times the speed of sound.
Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They’ve asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense.
Satellites are physically quite secure orbiting the Earth, but the advent of cheaper high-power antennas makes them vulnerable in other ways. Engineers have only recently started taking cybersecurity seriously in satellite design, and as PCMag reports, that means hacking a satellite might not be as difficult as you think. Bill Malik, VP of Infrastructure Strategies at Trend Micro, calls the range of vulnerabilities exposed on satellites “astonishing.”
A sleek new American-built capsule with just a test dummy aboard docked smoothly with the International Space Station on Sunday in a big step toward putting the U.S. back in the business of launching astronauts. The white, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule, developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX company under contract to NASA, closed in on the orbiting station nearly 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean and, flying autonomously, linked up on its own, without the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position.
No amount of money will buy you a ticket to Mars right now, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the cost of relocating to another planet could be $500,000 in the not-too-distant future. If you decide you don’t like it on Mars, no problem; you can come back to Earth for free. Musk cautions that his ballpark estimate is highly dependent on volume, though.
In a White House ceremony on Tuesday, Trump formally directed his acting defense secretary to prepare a legislative proposal for Congress, which has the final say in the matter. Defense officials said the proposal, which has actually been in planning for months, is slated for delivery to lawmakers on Feb. 25.
A new U.S. intelligence report warns that both China and Russia are investing in weapons that could attack U.S. satellites and assets in space, and that both nations are now preparing to use space as a battlefield. Last month, the Defense Intelligence Agency released a report about China's military capabilities, warning that the Asian country was making advances in counterspace technology that could threaten U.S. satellites responsible for communications, reconnaissance, GPS and early warnings of missile launches.
China and Russia are likely building high-powered lasers that can shoot down US satellites, according to a new Pentagon report. Both countries are developing an arsenal of anti-satellite weaponry including missiles, cyber attacks, and "directed energy weapons," according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency.
On Jan. 19, 2019, just 161 days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its first orbit of the Sun, reaching the point in its orbit farthest from our star, called aphelion. The spacecraft has now begun the second of 24 planned orbits, on track for its second perihelion, or closest approach to the Sun, on April 4, 2019.