Weapons in Space Race Warfare
“The eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding…. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.” John F. Kennedy, speech at Rice University, 1962
Noble ideals from an era wide-eyed with optimism and aspirations. President Kennedy’s assassination ended the age of naivety. Space exploration was always about domination through military strength and maintaining the high ground. The United States over the last decades achieves what it does best; spend more money. The black budgets that are buried deep within the bowls of the Pentagon do not fund a utopia. The threat of warfare on some level never vanishes. The expanse into the universe just allows infinite space to move around the instruments for a clash of rivals. While Space Wars Will Look Nothing Like Star Wars, the prospects of attaining celestial peace are nothing but a pipe dream.
“There’s this idea connected with space that it should be used for peaceful purposes,” says P.J. Blount, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Space Law. “And that idea extends a heightened status to space for states not to engage in these types of activities.”
That peaceful designation for outer space is based on the 1967 “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,” better known as the pithier “Outer Space Treaty.” It’s administered by the United Nations, and it states, among other things, that space is for peaceful uses only, and forbids placing weapons of mass destruction in orbit. It also forbids weapons of any sort on the moon. So far, the treaty has been upheld, in large part.”
The record since the New Frontier details the same old adage since human nature does not change. No Treaty Will Stop Space Weapons, is inevitable.
“Space war concerns are turning toward the tactical. In a conventional shooting war, disabling U.S. sats blunts the precision weapons and navigation systems that enable the U.S. military to operate. You can see, then, why the Chinese and Russians are very interested in banning conventional weapons in space, but not so interested in banning weapons that could blind, kill, or disable satellites from Earth.”
This kind of thinking moves the debate into degrees and types of weapons that are now accepted as a given, especially since the ending of the cold war was just a temporary cooling of tensions. With the emergence of Red China into the supremacy race, the three way space weapons deployment chase heats up.
The U.S. military never misses an opportunity to pump up the fear factor to support the case for higher defense spending. CNBC gladly provides a forum to sell the Space arms race as Russia, China emerge as ‘rapidly growing threats’ to US.
“Navy Vice Admiral Charles Richard, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, warned in a speech at a CSIS space security conference about offensive space capabilities and weapons being developed by China and Russia.
“While we’re not at war in space, I don’t think we can say we are exactly at peace either,” the admiral said. “With rapidly growing threats to our space systems, as well as the threat of a degraded space environment, we must prepare for a conflict that extends into space.”
The military-industrial-establishment eagerly pushes their agenda for spending The Air Force’s space budget is up by 8 percent, even though the service is cutting procurement of space systems by more than a billion dollars. In order to defend this increase the following argument attempts to rationalize Space Warfare: Why The U.S. Is So Vulnerable, Despite SpaceX’s Wins.
“Russia and China are ramping up their offensive potential. And while the effects of space warfare on worldwide commerce would hurt the U.S. and its adversaries alike, the U.S. military’s unmatched global footprint and forward-deployed posture mean it is especially dependent on space-based assets.
So what happens if China and Russia use their space assets on a commercial satellite? Is that an act of war?
“That is a policy issue that is being actively discussed,” said Stephen Flanagan, a senior political analyst at Rand Corp.”
Ramping up the implied danger, the Scientific American account of War in Space May Be Closer Than Ever points to the rapid development of operational systems for satellite warfare.
“The US declassified details of its secret Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP), a planned set of four satellites capable of monitoring the Earth’s high orbits and even rendezvousing with other satellites to inspect them up-close. The first two GSSAP spacecraft launched into orbit in July 2014.
“This used to be a black program—something that didn’t even officially exist,” Weeden says. “It was declassified to basically send a message saying, ‘Hey, if you’re doing something funky in and around the geosynchronous belt, we’re going to see.’” An interloper into geosynchronous orbit need not be an explosives-tipped missile to be a security risk—even sidling up to an adversary’s strategic satellites is considered a threat. Which is one reason that potential U.S. adversaries might be alarmed by the rendezvous capabilities of GSSAP and of the U.S. Air Force’s highly maneuverable X-37B robotic space planes.”
Never let an arms race get into the way of lowering the volume and taking a second look at the cosmic advantages of cooperating in the vast voids of outer space. Oh no, that unprotected risk that President Kennedy spoke about has been pursued in the quest for continuous weapon development. According to the account, Space Weapons in Development there are at least three laser systems being developed for either space-based or ground-based weapons; hydrogen fluoride laser, deuterium fluoride laser and chemical oxygen iodine laser.
“The former U.S. Space Command, which is now part of the U.S. Strategic Command as of June 2002, doesn’t hide the fact that it wants to establish U.S. supremacy in space. In its Vision for 2020 report, the Space Command points out that military forces have always evolved to protect national interests, both military and economic. The report suggests that space weapons must be developed to protect U.S. satellites, and other space vehicles, as other countries develop the ability to launch spacecraft into space. In 1997, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space, Keith R. Hall, said, “With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it and we’re going to keep it.”
Chronicles of modern warfare has shown that efforts to ban the weaponization of advanced levels of technological systems has been a failure since warmongering conflict just does not abide by the best of intentions. The long history of militarization of space is demonstrated by Space.com with their list of The Most Dangerous Space Weapons Ever.
Whatever category of cyber, kinetic or jamming weapons are on the horizon, the fact remains that the escalated space race is focused upon winning a warfare option. Well, none of us should be surprised. The planet is consumed with permanent war. The United States foreign policy establishment is scared about losing their empire. China wants to become the replacement imperium. And Russia is attempting to survive from the failures of their former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Instead of trust and verify, the battle cry is to destroy and eliminate your advocacies. Each have different priorities and tactics on just how to reach their goal of preeminence. What can be derived with certainty is that any conflict in space would never be confined to the exosphere. The fallout, nuke or non nuclear need not be pulled into the global atmosphere because there are ample earth bound weapons to destroy the entire planet.
Space may be the refugee for communication satellites and world commerce, but The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons, cites an option for a space based offensive weapon.
“One idea that has kicked around for decades is a system that would consist of a tungsten projectile and a navigation system. Upon command, these ‘rods from God’ as they are poetically called would re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and would strike a target, even one in a super hardened underground banker, at 36,000 feet per second, obliterating it.”
Somehow this just does not seem to be in keeping under a “banner of freedom and peace” or doing God’s work.
SARTRE – March 13, 2018