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Author: Subject: Space Warfare, all aspects
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[*] posted on 26-7-2020 at 02:35 PM


Space War: US To Meet With Russia; Rolls Out Warfighting Doctrine

For the first time in seven years, the US and Russia will formally meet to discuss norms of behavior in space -- even as both nations build capability for war in the heavens.


By THERESA HITCHENS

on July 24, 2020 at 4:21 PM


Use of ASATs could result in massive amounts of destruction and dangerous junk on orbit. National Space and Intelligence Center image

WASHINGTON: A US delegation, including DoD officials, on July 27 in Vienna, Austria will hold a first Space Security Exchange (SSE) with Russia. It’s the first formal bilateral meeting on space security since 2013, says Chris Ford, assistant secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation.

The purpose is to “help advance the cause of setting responsible norms of behavior in that vital domain,” Ford told reporters in a phone briefing today. In addition, he said, the US hopes to open a regular bilateral communications channel in order to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations about on-orbit activities.

Yet at the same time, the US military has just finalized a new warfighting doctrine defining how it will fight in space, said Gen. Jay Raymond, who currently heads both the Space Force and Space Command.

“One of the things I’m really excited about is that we’ve drafted our first-ever ‘Capstone Warfighting Doctrine’ for space; it’s at the printers,” he told the Center for A New American Security today. “We’re expecting that to get delivered here in the next couple of days, and we’re going to roll that out either next week if it comes in on time, or the week after, but it’s imminent.”

The document, Raymond explained, will “define military space power as a distinct form of military power, which will be a first, and it’s a foundational document that will inform the ethos and values of this new Space Force.”

The Russian SSE meeting is modeled on three similar bilaterals between the US and China held so far, with the last meeting with Beijing held in the summer of 2019, Ford said.

“The space domain is being furiously weaponized by Moscow and Beijing,” he added.

Ford said that Russia has “fired a projectile” from a satellite not once, but twice — labeling Russia the “most prominent mischief maker in space right now.”

Raymond also noted the July 15 Russian satellite test that the US says was clearly a test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon. “You may have read that we responded to a Russian on-orbit activity that had characteristics of a weapon,” he said, noting that the US military is also working with allies on the issue.

Moscow has been doing many “strange and disturbing things” on orbit, Ford said, in order to signal to the US and the world that it has the capability to use satellites to destroy others on orbit. And that, he stressed, “is a very disturbing, provocative, dangerous and ill-advised thing for them to be doing.”

Ford, however, was dismissive of seeking a legally-binding agreement to bar ASAT tests or space weapons in general — raising the familiar US refrain that it is impossible to define the bounds of any technology-based prohibition. “That is a great way to spin wheels,” he said. Instead, the US wants to establish voluntary norms of behavior for military space activities, first with Russia and China and then at a global level.

How the US military itself intends to respond to future aggressive action, and any use of weapons against US space assets, will be the subject of the new doctrinal document — including what offensive actions against adversary satellites the US might be willing to take during a conflict.

As Breaking D readers know, Raymond actually started thinking about new doctrine almost as soon as Space Command was created. Since then, the Air Force has been holding senior level meetings on doctrinal development, and as Maj. Gen. John Shaw, head of Space Force Operations Command, said earlier this year, they included Navy and Army representatives to consider what lessons might be learned from them.

Doctrine matters because it guides military forces on how to carry out policy and strategy decisions. The armed services each boast their own doctrine, and the Joint Staff put together joint doctrine that guides how the services work together and attempts to standardize terminology.

The central doctrinal document today for space is Joint Doctrine 3-14, Space Operations, last updated in 2018. It needs changes to characterize space as a warfighting domain and reflect new chains of command established within the Space Force’s new organizational structure, which was cemented in a ceremony today.

The Space Force announced on June 30 that its new organization “will consist of three echelons of command, where the Air Force currently is organized into five echelons.” These hierarchical levels are “field commands, deltas and squadrons.”

The field commands are Space Operations Command (SpOC), Space Systems Command (SSC), and Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM). “SpOC and SSC will be led by three-star general officers, and STARCOM will be led by a two-star general,” the announcement explained. Deltas will be O-6 led; and within them will be squadrons focused on specific tactics.

Space Force “Deltas” combine two different levels of organization under the old Air Force construct, wings and groups. “We’ve stood down all of our space wings — the 21st Space Wing, the 50th Space Wing and the 460th Space Wing — and the groups, and we collapsed them into what we’re calling deltas,” Raymond said. “They’re mission-focused deltas — so space domain awareness delta, a space electronic warfare delta. We’ve collapsed two layers of command, again getting after a lean, agile structure that can that can go fast and enable accountability and agility.”

Raymond’s time wearing both the Space Force and SPACECOM hats is about to end. The Senate Armed Services Committee on July 28 will hold a confirmation hearing for his replacement at SPACECOM, Army Lt. Gen. James Dickinson. Dickinson, who is currently serving as SPACECOM deputy, was widely favored for the position — in large part to foot-stop the fact that SPACECOM is a joint Combatant Command, and not a fiefdom of the Air Force. Thus, there is little reason to expect that he will not be confirmed.
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[*] posted on 28-7-2020 at 10:03 AM


China Launches New High-Resolution Mapping Satellite

(Source: Xinhua; published July 25, 2020)

TAIYUAN, China --- China sent a new high-resolution mapping satellite into space on Saturday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi.

The Ziyuan III 03 satellite was launched by a Long March-4B rocket at 11:13 a.m. Beijing time, according to the center. It was the 341st flight mission by the Long March rocket series.

Also on board the rocket were two satellites used for dark matter detection and commercial data acquisition respectively. They were developed by the Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd.

All three satellites have entered preset orbits, sources with the Taiyuan center said.

Ziyuan III 03, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, will join its predecessor Ziyuan III 02 to form a network and capture high-definition 3D images and multispectral data.

It will provide data for the country's land resources investigation, natural disaster prevention, agriculture development, water resources management, environmental survey and urban planning.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 28-7-2020 at 10:08 AM


Space Force Rockets Toward Milestones

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued July 24, 2020)


An Encapsulated X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle sits ready for United States Space Force-7 mission, May 6, 2020. (DoD photo)

Although the Space Force, the military's newest service, is just seven months old, it has sprinted toward its goal of preserving dominance in the space domain, its leader said.

Gen. John W. Raymond, chief of space operations of the Space Force and commander of U.S. Space Command, held a video briefing today at the Pentagon, hosted by the Center for a New American Security.

Although U.S. Space Command was stood up on Aug. 29 and the Space Force stood up Dec. 20, significant advances have already been made, he said.

The Space Force was involved in launching the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, GPS satellites, and other launches out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, he said. The newest service also supports the first human space flight since the end of the space shuttle era.

Also in the works is a draft of the first ever capstone warfighting doctrine for space, which will be rolled out in a week or two. He said it’s a foundational document that will inform Americans and allies about the value of the Space Force in protecting national security.

Just last week, the Space Force graduated its first classes in space electronic warfare, orbital warfare and space battle management, he noted.

Raymond said his organization will integrate closely with all of the combatant commands to ensure they have the support they need in the space domain. To do that, teams are being formed that will be a part of that integration effort.

One of the notable values the Space Force will bring to the American people is unity of effort and cost savings, he said, noting that there are many organizations, allies and partners doing work involved in the space domain.

The Space Force is looking to avoid duplication of effort. As an example, the Defense Department needed to have two satellites in polar orbit. Raymond said his organization found that Norway was already involved in doing just that, so the U.S. partnered with its NATO ally to put payloads on their rockets.

Raymond emphasized that he wants to ensure that the Space Force stays lean and agile, and he said the organization will be flattened, thus avoiding layers of bureaucracy.

The requirements, acquisition and personnel processes will likewise be streamlined and efficient, he added.

That small force will also be digitally savvy, he said, noting that only the best and brightest will be accepted.

Raymond said he wants the new workforce to be up to date, both technically and proficiently. In an effort to do that, he said he expects Space Force personnel will be allowed to work for certain periods of time within agencies like NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office as well as industry.

Like other organizations, the Space Force has been impacted by COVID-19, he said. As a result, the Space Force has embraced virtual events, such as hosting a combined space operations principles meeting with close partners in space: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Finally, Raymond noted that an airman in Germany sent him a note recently suggesting a new Space Force motto, Semper Supra, which is Latin for "Always Above." Raymond said he approved it.

The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 28-7-2020 at 12:52 PM


Hypergiant is building a reprogrammable satellite constellation with the Air Force

Nathan Strout

3 hours ago


Hypergiant Industries is hopeful that it's 36 satellite Chameleon Constellation will be used as a low Earth orbit test range for the U.S. Space Force.

Hypergiant Industries is working on building a new 36 satellite constellation with the U.S. Air Force —an upgrade-able system that the company hopes will be used as a low Earth orbit test range.

The company first pitched the concept of a constellation of satellites that could update “functionality and mission profiles on the fly based on real-time emergent scenarios and information” in January. Since then, Hypergiant has received funding for their Chameleon Constellation in the form of Air Force Small Business Innovation Research grants, the company told C4ISRNET, and in late June they announced the debut of the first prototype node in their system. The company is moving to get their satellites on orbit fast — the first launch is slated for early 2021.

The Department of Defense’s interest in reprogrammable satellites has grown in recent years as the military works to respond to evolving threats. The military’s traditional approach of building small constellations of large, exquisite, expensive satellites that take years to develop and are meant to last more than a decade on orbit is simply not responsive enough for some threats.

One solution with increasing buy-in from the Pentagon is the proliferated constellations operating in low Earth orbit (LEO) made up of dozens - or even hundreds - of small, relatively cheap satellites that are replaced every few years. Since those satellites are constantly being replaced by newer versions, DoD officials can be assured that the hardware and software on orbit is up to date. The Space Development Agency has been leading the department’s efforts to build its own proliferated LEO constellation.

A second and complementary approach is to build satellites that can be reprogrammed on orbit, like what Hypergiant is doing with their Chameleon Constellation. While the hardware can’t be replaced once the satellite is on orbit, the upgrade-able software gives users more flexibility in adapting the technology to the present need.

In order to build this reprogrammable constellation, Hypergiant is teaming with the Air Force to use their Platform One system as the base of the constellation’s architecture.

“Platform One provides DevSecOps/Software Services with baked-in security to DoD Programs. The Chameleon Constellation will utilize the United States’ Air Force’s secure, hardened, and accredited Platform One system as the foundational layer for the constellation’s architecture,” Ben Lamm, the company’s chief executive, told C4ISRNET. “The partnership will ensure that the Air Force has superior technical advantages in space with the ability to update satellites’ functionality and mission profiles on the fly based on real-time emergent scenarios and information.”

“We need to be able to put assets in space as quickly as possible and then continuously improve them to maintain superiority,” said USAF Maj. Rob Slaughter, director of the Department of Defense’s Platform One, in a statement. “In order for the U.S. to remain competitive and protect the systems that run the lives of everyday Americans, we created a solution that allows for maximum situation control in space.”

While the company did not share the total value of the Small Business Innovation Research grants it had received for the Chameleon Constellation, Lamm told C4ISRNET that they are working toward a phase 3 contract in excess of $10 million that would provide direct Air Force and Space Force weapon system support.

Lamm added that he was hopeful that Hypergiant’s satellites could be developed into a Space Force platform, possibly to be used as a LEO test range.

“The full expression of this relationship could absolutely become part of the Space Force platform, and we are keeping that in mind as we architect the constellation with support from the USAF and [Space Force],” he said. “As far as what’s next, we are currently discussing a Low Earth Orbit Test Range as one of the initial applications of the Chameleon Constellation.

“Our adversaries are developing ways to disrupt, deny, degrade, and destroy on-orbit assets. The LEO Test Range will be used to train operators to create strategies to protect against kinetic kill vehicle capabilities, electronic warfare, ground and/or spacecraft computer intrusions, and lasers/optical attacks,” he. said.

Lamm also further teased experimental imaging capabilities.

“We’re also currently working on an experimental imaging technology that could revolutionize and augment our existing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” he said. “We are still in the early experimentation phases and do not market the capability until we know it works 100% but it is something we have been devoting substantial resources towards. As this technology matures we plan on putting up a constellation as quickly as possible.”
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 03:50 PM


Nominee to lead Space Command voices support for declassifying space

Nathan Strout

8 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The nominee to lead the nearly year-old U.S. Space Command voiced support for addressing the problem of over-classification in space, during a July 28 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, currently serving as deputy commander of SPACECOM, told senators that in his experience, declassification has helped the war fighter on the ground.

“In my previous job as commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, I saw firsthand how that over-classification, if you will, was actually making it more difficult for us to provide support to the war fighter,” Dickinson said. “We’ve already seen in the U.S. Army how that declassification, if you will, of some of the assets that we have has added to not only more soldiers being able to be trained and qualified on that capability, but providing that capability to the war fighter on the ground.”

Dickinson further stated that SPACECOM should routinely review classification in regard to space. In answers he submitted to the committee before the hearing, Dickinson also acknowledged the need for a review of how data collected from space is classified.

“We do need a comprehensive review of classification for collection data to ensure widest dissemination possible to the war fighter in a timely fashion,” he noted.

Dickinson is not the first official in the Department of Defense to call for the increased declassification of space programs. In December 2019, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said her office would focus on addressing over-classification within America’s space portfolio.

“Declassifying some of what is currently held in secure vaults would be a good idea,” she said during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “You would have to be careful about what we declassify, but there is much more classified than what needs to be.”

And in a recent Defense News op-ed, which was referenced by Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., during his questioning of Dickinson, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work called for the establishment of a high-level commission of former officers and officials to address over-classification in space programs and intelligence.

Dickinson said he had read that op-ed, adding that he believes progress is being made.

“I would tell you that we have come a long ways in a short period of time in terms of that particular effort. We have looked at that in DoD in my last job very extensively,” he said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dickinson would replace Gen. John “Jay” Raymond as head of SPACECOM. Raymond has concurrently served as chief of space operations of the Space Force since that service was established in December.
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 03:59 PM


Report calls on US government to develop ‘North Star’ vision for space

Nathan Strout

9 hours ago


The "State of the Space Industrial Base 2020" report is the result of a workshop that saw leaders from industry, the U.S. government and academia convene virtually to discuss how the United States could maintain long-term economic and military leadership in space. (U.S. Missile Defense Agency)

WASHINGTON — More than 120 space specialists, including representatives from the Pentagon, are calling on the United States to develop and promote a “North Star” approach for industrial development to maintain American leadership in space.

The push came in a report, “State of the Space Industrial Base 2020,“ following a virtual workshop held in May, which saw leaders from industry, the U.S. government and academia convene virtually to discuss how the United States could maintain long-term economic and military leadership in space. The report includes six recommendations for government action to achieve this goal, as well as four recommendations for industry adoption.

During a Center for Strategic and International Studies event July 28, Space Force Chief Scientist Joel Mozer highlighted the report’s first recommendation, which calls on the United States to develop a whole-of-government “North Star” vision and strategy for space industrial development.

“This recommendation is particularly important, and I believe that we’re getting there,” said Mozer, pointing to NASA’s Artemis mission, the return of crewed launches to American soil and the establishment of the Space Force as positive steps.

“The importance of such a vision is that it has the potential to drive national pride and instill a culture of progress and highlights the value of STEM education for aspiring youth. There’s lots of benefits of such a vision,” he added.

A main concern for Mozer, and the report more broadly, is China’s efforts to supplant America’s space dominance. Those efforts are driven by long-term thinking, said Mozer, and need to be countered by an American alternative.

“I will say that other nations — specifically China — have a very long-term view of the future of space and they are making targeted, consistent and far-reaching investments towards their own vision,” he said.

Col. Eric Felt, director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate and a co-author of the report, emphasized that the United States “must not become China to beat China.”

“We don’t want to do it the Chinese way,” Felt said. “We want to do it the United States way, and really using our market-based partnerships and our economic might, as well as our military tools, to make sure that, again, we can create this virtuous cycle that feeds off of itself in terms of space commercial activity.”

The report’s six recommendations for government action are as follows:

- The U.S. government promulgates a whole-of-government “North Star” top-level vision and strategy for space industrial development and establishes a presidential task force to execute it.
- The DoD develops plans to protect, support and leverage commerce in space.
- The U.S. government works to economically stimulate the industry, including space bonds and a space commodities exchange and by executing $1 billion of existing DoD and NASA funding through the exchange.
- The U.S. government develops a framework for creating wealth and security with allies and partners that share our common norms and values.
- The U.S. government supplies the workforce necessary to fill more than 10,000 science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, jobs domestically.
- The U.S. Space Force works closely with space industry entrepreneurs and innovators to develop government-commercial technology partnerships that support U.S. commerce and national security in space.

Although the nearly 90-page report does not officially represent the view of the U.S. Space Force or any other DoD organization, national security space leaders were heavily involved in its production. In addition to Mozer and Felt, the main authors of the report were Brig. Gen. Steven Butow, director of the Defense Innovation Unit’s space portfolio, and Thomas Cooley, chief scientist of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate.
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 04:46 PM


DoD Needs Plans To Protect Commercial Space Industry, Says New Study

"Our mission in the Space Force will become to protect that commerce, and I like to talk about it in terms of protecting the 'celestial lines of commerce,' or the space lines of commerce," says Col. Eric Felt, head of the Space Vehicles Directorate at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).


By THERESA HITCHENS

on July 28, 2020 at 5:01 PM



WASHINGTON: DoD should develop plans to “protect, support, and leverage commerce in space” in future — including establishing logistics capabilities all the way out to the Moon and beyond, recommends a new report spearheaded by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).

“Our mission in the Space Force will become to protect that commerce, and I like to talk about it in terms of protecting the ‘celestial lines of commerce,’ or the space lines of commerce,” said Col. Eric Felt, head of the Space Vehicles Directorate at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Felt spoke at a webinar today hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, rolling out the new “State of the Space Industrial Base 2020” study, co-sponsored by AFRL and the Space Force.

To meet this mission, Felt added, he is looking to focus efforts at AFRL on technologies to enable operations beyond Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO, 36,000 kilometers above the Earth), the maximum altitude for most military and commercial satellites. That means reaching into cislunar space — the region between GEO and the Moon — and out to the orbit of the Moon itself.

“I see a need for technology that is going to enable us to go to the cislunar area above GEO, and how do we operate up there and how do we maintain awareness of what’s going on up there,” he said. “And I see a need for logistical activities. … The further you go away from the Earth, the more you need logistics; and, logistics that are going to make you more resilient in your space capabilities, not more vulnerable in your space capabilities.”

According to the study, such logistics could include mining the Moon and building fueling stations for spacecraft. “Lunar resources, including hydrogen/oxygen for propellant that enable cheaper mobility for civil, commercial and national security applications, are key for access to asteroid resources and Mars, and to enable overall space commercial development,” the study says.

“With a role similar to an Army Corps of Engineers, SeaBees or Coast Guard, the USSF can guide and accelerate the development of critical infrastructure,” it adds.

The proposed shift in DoD’s space mission to explicitly protect US commercial activities out to cislunar space, as opposed to focusing on protecting US military activities currently on orbit nearer to Earth, echoes an earlier study by the now-defunct Air Force Space Command. That Sept. 5 study, called “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy,” laid out eight possible far-futures for human endeavors in space, and concluded that the US requires a sweeping new strategy that encompasses protection of commercial activities such as resource extraction and US citizens living off-world.

A similar study was released on June 16 by the influential Aerospace Corporation.

“If we look down range, are we doing the things that we need to today to secure the future that we want for America?” Brig. Gen. Bucky Butow, DIU’s Space Portfolio Director, told the webinar. “We should be asking ourselves critically: how do we want the 21st century to end?”

As Breaking D readers know, national security space leaders are more and more preoccupied with cislunar space — seeing it as a future area of global competition, particularly with China. DoD has myriad new efforts aimed at developing technologies to expand military uses of cislunar space, including activities at Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate; DARPA’s nuclear-powered rocket project called Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO); and the Space Development Agency’s (albeit financially constrained) interest in developing satellites for space domain awareness capabilities to monitor future activities by potential adversaries (read Chinese) around the Moon.

The recommendations in the DIU report stemmed from a May workshop that brought together more than 120 experts from government, industry and academia to assess the current health of the space industry and recommend how to strengthen it. The report represents the outcome of those discussions.

“While the findings and recommendations from that workshop do not represent the official position of the United States Space Force, or any other branch of the government, it is important that we listen to these insights and evaluate the feasibility of implementing them in the advancement of national interests,” Gen. Jay Raymond wrote in the study’s forward.

Raymond currently heads both the Space Force and Space Command, but he will shortly be giving up the SPACECOM role to his successor, Army Lt. Gen. James Dickinson. In a harmonious confirmation hearing this afternoon, Senate Armed Services chairman James Inhofe in his opening remarks noted there is “no opposition that I know of” to either Dickinson or the nominee to take over Northern Command, Air Force Lt. Gen. Glen D. VanHerck. Dickinson currently serves as SPACECOM deputy.

The six focus areas of the DIU study were:

- Space policy and finance tools to secure US space leadership now and into the future by building a unity-of-effort and incentivizing the space industrial base
- Space information services include space communications/internet, positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), and the full range of Earth observing functions which have commercial, civil and military applications.
- Space transportation and logistics to, in and from cislunar space and beyond.
- Human presence in space for exploration, space tourism, space manufacturing and resource extraction.
- Power for space systems to enable the full range of emerging space applications.
- Space manufacturing and resource extraction for terrestrial and in space markets.

The report makes six recommendations for the US government to bolster the space industrial base, and four recommendations for industry itself.

The report pushes for a “whole of government” approach to bolstering space industrial development. This should be led by a special Presidential Task Force, it adds. In addition, the report calls for the establishment of a set of financial stimulus measures to help kickstart that development.

Industry, first and foremost, should “aggressively pursue partnerships with the US government to develop and operate joint commercial, civil and defense space capabilities” — including bringing their own research and development funds.

“Entrepreneurs with innovative and potentially dual-use technologies must improve the protection of their intellectual property from unintended foreign assimilation, including protecting their networks from cyber exfiltration attempts, and avoiding exit strategies that transfer intellectual property to foreign control hostile to US interests,” the study adds.
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 09:56 AM


U.S. Space Effort's Future Hinges on Private Industry

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued July 28, 2020)


SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A lifts off from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., April 12, 2019. This flight marks the second launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket; the most powerful space vehicle flying today. (DoD photo)

When the United States sent men to the moon in the 1960s, the effort was largely driven by the government. But the future of the U.S. space effort will be agile innovators in the private sector who partner with the government, the Space Force's chief scientist said.

"We're very much at a precipice where private investment in space is driving the technology, not necessarily government investment as it has been in the past," Dr. Joel B. Mozer said today during a virtual panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The U.S. government, in its pursuit of advancements and participation in the space domain, can contribute through investments in science, technology, infrastructure and science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — education, Mozer said, as well as through development of policies and regulations that strengthen space efforts.

Defense Department officials must have a unique perspective on space, how it can be used, and what must be done to achieve national security objectives, Mozer said.

"Firstly, it's going to shape the environment that we operate in and will evolve our mission to protect U.S. interests both here on Earth and beyond in the future," he explained. "Second, many of the technological innovations that are now coming and will continue to come from entrepreneurs and industrialists in the space business are from those entrepreneurs. We must harness those innovations for our mission to support the joint fight when we're called upon to do so."

Finally, Mozer said, those involved in the military's pursuit of space must overmatch America's strategic competitors.

"Space is now a warfighting domain," he said. "We must work with industry, as well as our allies, to protect our ability to operate in that domain and to defend our capabilities and ensure that they're there when needed as well as to ensure that the technological advantage in space goes to freedom-loving states who desire to keep space lines of commerce open for all."

In May, NewSpace New Mexico sponsored a four-day conference to discuss civil, commercial and national security space strategy. That conference produced the nearly 90-page report "State of the Space Industrial Base Report 2020."

Mozer, one of the report's authors, said 10 recommendations regarding the future of space — six for the U.S government and four for industry — were the key takeaways.

The No. 1 recommendation, Mozer said, is that the U.S. government develop and endorse a whole-of-government "North Star" vision and strategy for the industrial development of space and that a presidential task force be established to execute that strategy.

"This recommendation is particularly important, and I believe that we're getting there," Mozer said. "In recent years and months, we've seen a lot of action and direction in this direction."

As examples of progress, he cited NASA's Artemis mission, which plans to put the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. The establishment of the Space Force is also an example of progress.

"There's a lot of thought being put into this 'North Star' vision, and we're laying some groundwork for it," he said. "However, it is still significant that this recommendation came out on top from the workshop. It tells me that we still have some work to do to describe this future vision, a vision that the nation could get behind and adopt."

The "North Star" vision must be specific about what the United States wants its future in space to look like, and U.S. officials must make sure the decisions they make now move the nation toward a future in space that Americans can aspire to and be proud of, Mozer said.

Other nations, specifically China, already have a long-term vision of the future of space and are making investments toward their own visions, he noted.

"The importance of such a vision is that it has the potential to derive national pride and to instill a culture of progress, and it highlights the value of STEM education for aspiring youth," he said. "There's lots of benefits of such a vision. The value is immense of a 'North Star' vision, and the consequences of a lack of such visual are potentially disastrous."

-ends-

When the United States sent men to the moon in the 1960s, the effort was largely driven by the government. But the future of the U.S. space effort will be agile innovators in the private sector who partner with the government, the Space Force's chief scientist said.

"We're very much at a precipice where private investment in space is driving the technology, not necessarily government investment as it has been in the past," Dr. Joel B. Mozer said today during a virtual panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The U.S. government, in its pursuit of advancements and participation in the space domain, can contribute through investments in science, technology, infrastructure and science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — education, Mozer said, as well as through development of policies and regulations that strengthen space efforts.

Defense Department officials must have a unique perspective on space, how it can be used, and what must be done to achieve national security objectives, Mozer said.

"Firstly, it's going to shape the environment that we operate in and will evolve our mission to protect U.S. interests both here on Earth and beyond in the future," he explained. "Second, many of the technological innovations that are now coming and will continue to come from entrepreneurs and industrialists in the space business are from those entrepreneurs. We must harness those innovations for our mission to support the joint fight when we're called upon to do so."

Finally, Mozer said, those involved in the military's pursuit of space must overmatch America's strategic competitors.

"Space is now a warfighting domain," he said. "We must work with industry, as well as our allies, to protect our ability to operate in that domain and to defend our capabilities and ensure that they're there when needed as well as to ensure that the technological advantage in space goes to freedom-loving states who desire to keep space lines of commerce open for all."

In May, NewSpace New Mexico sponsored a four-day conference to discuss civil, commercial and national security space strategy. That conference produced the nearly 90-page report "State of the Space Industrial Base Report 2020."

Mozer, one of the report's authors, said 10 recommendations regarding the future of space — six for the U.S government and four for industry — were the key takeaways.

The No. 1 recommendation, Mozer said, is that the U.S. government develop and endorse a whole-of-government "North Star" vision and strategy for the industrial development of space and that a presidential task force be established to execute that strategy.

"This recommendation is particularly important, and I believe that we're getting there," Mozer said. "In recent years and months, we've seen a lot of action and direction in this direction."

As examples of progress, he cited NASA's Artemis mission, which plans to put the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. The establishment of the Space Force is also an example of progress.

"There's a lot of thought being put into this 'North Star' vision, and we're laying some groundwork for it," he said. "However, it is still significant that this recommendation came out on top from the workshop. It tells me that we still have some work to do to describe this future vision, a vision that the nation could get behind and adopt."

The "North Star" vision must be specific about what the United States wants its future in space to look like, and U.S. officials must make sure the decisions they make now move the nation toward a future in space that Americans can aspire to and be proud of, Mozer said.

Other nations, specifically China, already have a long-term vision of the future of space and are making investments toward their own visions, he noted.

"The importance of such a vision is that it has the potential to derive national pride and to instill a culture of progress, and it highlights the value of STEM education for aspiring youth," he said. "There's lots of benefits of such a vision. The value is immense of a 'North Star' vision, and the consequences of a lack of such visual are potentially disastrous."

-ends-
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[*] posted on 31-7-2020 at 09:43 AM


Air Force moves to enact space acquisition reforms, despite hold up of legislative proposals

Nathan Strout

2 hours ago


One of the changes the U.S. Space Force wants to adopt is incremental funding for satellites, which is used to purchase the fifth geosynchronous Space Based Infrared System satellite. (Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is trying to move ahead with reforms to how it acquires space systems, even as a report outlining significant legislative changes has gotten held up by the Office of Management and Budget.

Released in May, the Department of the Air Force report recommends nine specific proposals to improve contracting under the newly established U.S. Space Force. While most of the changes can be undertaken independently by the Department of Defense, three recommendations would require legislative action by Congress. But according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration Shawn Barnes, the report has yet to get past OMB, which oversees the President’s budget proposals and ensures legislation proposed by agencies is consistent with the administration.

“[It’s] still not on the hill. I’m a little frustrated by that, but I think we’re very close with OMB at this point and I think we’re just about there,” said Barnes during a July 30 call with reporters. “There are a couple of sticking points, but I’m not going to talk about those directly here.”

Barnes continued on to say that OMB had no issues with the vast majority of the report.

And while the Air Force has to wait for legislative action on some recommendations, Barnes said they are already moving ahead with internal reforms, such as establishing a distinct Space Force budget.

“We’re in the process of figuring out how to implement those actions within the alt-acquisition report that don’t require any legislative change, and of the somewhat less than ten of those specific actions, probably six of them are within the Department of Defense’s ability to get after. So we’re building implementation plans for that,” he said.

The most important recommendation in the report, at least according to the Air Force, is budgetary. They want to be able to consolidate Space Force budget line items along mission portfolios, such as missile warning or communications, instead of by platforms, allowing them more flexibility to move funding between related systems without having to submit reprogramming requests to Congress. This was a point of contention between the Pentagon and legislators last year, as the Air Force issued repeated reprogramming requests to secure the funding needed to push up the delivery date of the first Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellite.

Barnes insisted that managing funding at the portfolio would give the Space Force more flexibility to react to program developments without sacrificing transparency. While funding would not longer be broken out at the program level, it could still be expressed at a lower level, he said.

“We would still be breaking it down at a subordinate level but what we would hope is that we would have the ability to still move money from one of those subordinate levels to another, and that’s where we can have that transparency,” he explained.
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[*] posted on 1-8-2020 at 08:30 PM


Rocket Lab identifies anomaly the caused failed launch

Nathan Strout

13 hours ago


Rocket Lab says it has identified the cause of a July 4 launch failure and has found ways to prevent that issues in future launches. (Rocket Lab)

WASHINGTON - Up and coming U.S. government launch provider Rocket Lab says it has identified the anomaly behind a July 4 in-flight failure of one of its rockets, and the Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the company to resume launches, the company announced July 31.

Several minutes after one of the company’s Electron rockets successfully lifted-off from its New Zealand launch pad on July 4, the engine automatically initiated a safe shutdown. It was unable to reach orbit, and—while no one was injured—the incident resulted in the loss of the rocket and the commercial payloads it was carrying.

Over the last few weeks, the company has been able to go over its telemetry with the FAA to identify the issue: A single electrical connection that evaded pre-flight testing.

“The issue occurred under incredibly specific and unique circumstances, causing the connection to fail in a way that we wouldn’t detect with standard testing. Our team has now reliably replicated the issue in test and identified that it can be mitigated through additional testing and procedures,” said Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO Peter Beck in a statement.

The incident took place as Rocket Lab continues to grow its commercial and government customer base. The company says its Electron rocket was the 4th most frequently launched rocket in the world last year. The U.S. government has shown increasing interest in leveraging the company’s small launch capability: The U.S. Air Force has awarded the company multiple launch contracts in recent years, the National Reconnaissance Office launched its first payload from New Zealand on an Electron, and the U.S. Space Force is expected to launch a payload with the company in the coming months.

Rocket Lab is slated to launch a single micro-sat for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Monolith program — which will explore whether small satellites can support large aperture payloads for space weather monitoring — in the late August/early September time frame. That will be Rocket Lab’s first launch from U.S. soil, taking place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.

In a media call July 31, Beck said that planned launches with the Space Force and NRO would move forward as planned, although there may be slight delays. Both organizations told C4ISRNET earlier this month that they intended to continue working with the company on upcoming launches despite the July 4 incident.

“I think we’ve enjoyed really close relationships with our government customers, and we have opened the full investigation to them. They’ve had the ability to watch us go through this process,” said Beck. “We’ve had great support from those customers and I think everybody in this industry appreciates that—on occasion—these things can happen.”
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[*] posted on 1-8-2020 at 10:15 PM


General Atomics Testing Laser Comms Terminals

7/31/2020

By Mandy Mayfield


Electromagnetic systems concept
General Atomics illustration


General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems is partnering with the Space Development Agency to test and demonstrate laser communication terminals in low-Earth orbit.

The California-based company announced in June that it will work with the agency to perform a series of experiments for optical intersatellite links using the company’s technology.

“The whole idea is to essentially get to higher bandwidth, higher accuracy kinds of communication links so that you can move more information around faster and over very long distances,” said Nick Bucci, vice president for missile defense and space systems at General Atomics.

The experiment is slated to launch in March 2021 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The Space Development Agency wants to build a constellation of tracking and communications satellites in low-Earth orbit and plans to have its first constellation up by 2022, the agency’s Director Derek Tournear said.

The first step will be to develop a “Tranche 0” constellation, Tournear told reporters during a press call. “We’re soliciting notionally 20 satellites to make up that mesh network.”

The agency plans to have that on orbit in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022. In a request for proposals issued in May, the SDA called optical intersatellite links “one of the most critical technology required to be demonstrated for Tranche 0.”

Using laser communications for high-data rates in space was proposed in 2003 for the Air Force’s Transformational Satellite Communications program, which was canceled in 2009 by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The SDA was established last year in hopes of wielding a new approach to building space-based capabilities. A major priority for the agency is to create a meshed communications network in low-Earth orbit that will serve as the backbone for all its other proposed systems.

“We started this work on the optical satellite links under [independent research-and-development] efforts,” Bucci said.“The goal was essentially to enable ... a mesh network of low-Earth orbit satellites, which happens to align very well with what SDA has started to put out in terms of one of their key layers.”

The development and integration for those satellites is being conducted at General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems facilities in San Diego, California, and Huntsville, Alabama. The company will also provide mission control from centers in Centennial, Colorado, and Huntsville.
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