On April 9, 2019, at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan delivered a speech where he outlined the Defense Department’s plans to establish U.S. Space Command and the U.S. Space Force.
Secretary Shanahan said in his speech that both China and Russia have weaponized space in ways that put existing U.S. space capabilities at risk.
He said that
Weapons are currently deployed by our competitors that can attack our assets in space.
The threat is clear: we’re in an era of great power competition, and the next major conflict may be won or lost in space. Because of their actions, space is no longer a sanctuary — it is now a war-fighting domain. This is not a future or theoretical threat; this is today’s threat. We are not going to sit back and watch. We are going to act. We are going to deter conflict from extending into space, and ensure we can respond decisively if deterrence fails.
Today (Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019) President Trump authorized the creation of the United States Space Command, first step on the way to create the Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military.
Air Force four-star Gen. John “Jay” Raymond has been appointed as a commander of new U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM). The role of USSPACECOM is to handle space operations such as satellite-based navigation and communications for troops and commanders in the field and detection of missile launches abroad.
Published on Aug 29, 2019
Just as we have recognized land, air, sea and cyber as vital war-fighting domains, we will now treat space as an independent region overseen by a new unified geographic combatant command.
As a unified combatant command, the United States Space Command is the next crucial step toward the creation of an independent Space Force as an additional armed service.Pres Donald Trump
Why having Space Force is so important?
First and foremost, we need it, to guarantee that progressive late-night show hosts on TV have something to joke about.
The other reason, at least as important as humor on late-night TV, is our satellite network. Satellites are crucial to commercial and military activities. Navigation, and timing (global positioning satellites); missile launch warning; communications; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), these are space assets, that neither we or our arm forces can function without. The problem is that at the moment we don’t have a system in place capable of defending them against potential attack launched by any of our adversaries.
Taking a satellite out isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either.
In 2007 China destroyed its own weather satellite as a part of the anti-satellite system (SC-19) test. The U.S. conducted a similar test 22 years earlier, hitting a decommissioned DoD satellite.
As of 3/31/19, there ware 2,062 of functioning satellites orbiting the earth. That’s lots of targets.
United States runs 901 satellites (including 31 operational GPS satellites).
- Civil: 38
- Commercial: 523
- Government: 164
- Military: 176
There’s no need to destroy all of them. Disrupting network connection of just one GPS satellite for a split second can cause its clock to go out of sync and in effect create catastrophic events in many areas of our lives. Why? One could ask. The Global Positioning System, despite its name, is not about maps anymore – it’s about time, globally synchronized time.
The satellites continuously broadcast their time and position data down to Earth where the financial services sector uses GPS-derived-time to timestamp all the transactions processed by their system. Every time one pulls cash from an ATM, uses a credit card to pay for groceries or trade stock on NASDAQ, the GPS makes it possible.
Off course, the financial sector is only one example. Telecom networks, computer data centers, electrical power grids, digital broadcast radio services, seismic monitoring networks and of course military are few others. Whenever perfect synchronization is required, GPS is there free for all to use. Unless something will happen and then we all will get screwed…
Hopefully, Trump administration will succeed in creating security measures necessary to keep our space assets safe and fully operational.
Just for fun.
Track satellites in real-time.
Stuff in Space is a real-time 3D map of man-made objects in Earth orbit brought to life by James Yoder. Roughly 15,000 objects are orbiting the Earth – satellites (both living and dead), rocket stages and debris tracked in real-time.
by James Yoder – the University of Texas.
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