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Laser Weapons in Space Will Shoot Down Missiles

Article by Kris Osborn                                    September 18, 2020                                   (nationalinterest.org)

• The space environment is highly conducive to laser weapons. Laser technology is being developed that carries a multitude of applications, particularly in space. The obvious application is space-based anti-missile laser weapons which can be used at “scalable” levels, ie: they can be used solely for detection and surveillance, or they can be gradually powered-up to stun, disable or destroy a target, or even to simply ‘jam’ enemy weapons or communications networks. A laser can be fired from an orbiting satellite to hit an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) at different phases of the missile’s trajectory.

• Weapons developers are now working on “power-scaling” laser systems to engineer weapons strong enough to incinerate enemy missiles in space. This not only requires range but also power systems sufficient to generate the desired effects. The Pentagon is developing surface ship-fired lasers strong enough to travel out to the boundaries of the Earth’s atmosphere. Defense contractors are working on a new kind of unmanned ‘space drone’ able to travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere for missile defense, surveillance or attack missions.

• Lasers travel more effectively beyond the earth’s atmosphere and experience less “beam attenuation” or weakening which can often happen due to weather or other obscurants operating closer to Earth. Also, lasers can attenuate at longer ranges, and many beams need to be consolidated into a single weapon to generate enough power to achieve the desired effect.

• A lesser known application is the use of lasers as optical sensors, according to experts with the Air Force Research Laboratory. “Lasers are super useful as optics in space. We view lasers as foundational to our space architecture,” says Colonel Eric Felt, Director, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base.

 

Space-based anti-missile laser weapons calls many military possibilities to mind. After all, there are already different lasers built, some more often

                     Colonel Eric Felt

discussed than others. For instance, is well known that lasers are being explored for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) defense in space. Moreover, the Missile Defense Agency officials tell The National Interest that weapons developers are now working on “power-scaling” laser systems to engineer weapons strong enough to incinerate enemy missiles in space. This not only requires range but also power systems sufficient to generate the desired effects.

Where would they fire from? Well that is a fascinating question which is already receiving a lot of attention. Lasers could at some point fire directly from satellites to burn holes in ICBMs either in space, during a beginning boost phase or during the terminal phase as it is closing in on a target.

Also, the Pentagon is developing surface ship-fired lasers strong enough to travel out to the boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere. Engineers at firms like Booz Allen Hamilton are already doing conceptual work on the possibility of building new kinds of hardened, space drones or unmanned systems able to travel beyond the earth’s atmosphere for missile defense, surveillance or even attack missions.

Much work still needs to be done, yet initial efforts are beginning to show great promise, as many explain that the space environment is highly conducive to laser weapons. Lasers travel more effectively beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and experience less “beam attenuation” or weakening which can often happen due to weather or other obscurants operating closer to earth. Also, lasers can attenuate at longer ranges, and many beams need to be consolidated into a single weapon to generate enough power to achieve the desired effect.

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Space Industry Report Extends Geopolitics Out to the Moon

August 24, 2020                              (larouchepub.com)

• Last May, the US Space Force and Air Force Research Laboratory held a ‘space industrial workshop’ with 120 experts in government, industry, and academia. This resulted in a report released in July entitled: “State of the Space Industrial Base”, an unofficial assessment of industrial base supporting the US military in space.

• The report confirms a previous determination made in the National Security Strategy of 2017 that identified Russia and China as “strategic adversaries” of the United States. According to the 2017 report, “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” In this new report, Space Force chief, General John Raymond, writes in the forward that this viewpoint extends directly into space.

• The new report also cites a 2019 report from the Air Force Space Command entitled: “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy” stating that “China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy to explore and economically develop the cislunar domain with the explicit aim of displacing the US as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies.”

• According to the report, China plans to “lure U.S. allies and partners away from U.S.-led space initiatives, through its Belt and Road Initiative and plans for an Earth Moon Economic Zone” worth $10 trillion. Through this initiative, China intends to become the leading, global/space super-power by 2049, displacing the US in that role.

• The report predicts that “the first nation to establish transportation infrastructure and logistics capabilities serving GEO and cislunar space will have superior ability to exercise control of cislunar space and in particular the Lagrange points and the resources of the Moon.” “The job of the US Space Force is to provide “security and a stabilizing military presence” for the U.S. economic presence in this zone.”

• The report goes on to suggest that the US Air Force “should consider the degree to which this role should emulate the US Navy role in assuring the maritime domain. Clarity on this issue will drive commercial confidence for a more rapid expansion of U.S. space entrepreneurial activity.” It urges the USAF to have “an increased role in America’s return to the Moon” and its planetary defense could ‘accelerate America’s edge in asteroid mining and in-space transportation.”

• “The U.S. should develop a guiding national vision for long-term space industrialization and national space development to catalyze whole-of-nation efforts and enable the United States to compete and win now and into the future,” says the report. This would include providing safety of navigation services, secure commerce, and protect civil infrastructure in the space domain in order to foster opportunities for partnerships with companies to develop prototypes and to procure operational product services.

• The report concludes that the US Space Force needs to continue the “space leadership created by recent policy and organizational advances …as space activities expand beyond geosynchronous orbit.”

[Editor’s Note]   What these studies and reports do not take into account is the fact that the United States military has had operational space fleets, using extraterrestrial propulsion technology, since the US Navy’s Solar Warden was deployed in the 1980s. Since then, the Air Force and NASA have both deployed their own secret space program fleets of advanced spacecraft and cislunar platforms. Other nations including China and Russia have done the same. So the real exopolitical space strategies go far beyond the alarmist geopolitical scare tactics found in these reports.

 

The report “State of the Space Industrial Base,” released last week by the Defense Innovation Unit, the U.S. Space Force, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, is, in effect, the space annex to the National Security Strategy of 2017. That document defines Russia and China as strategic adversaries of the United States. “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” it claims on page 2. That outlook is extended directly into the space domain by this report, writes Gen. John Raymond, chief of the U.S. Space Force, in the foreword to the document.

   Space Force General John Raymond

The report itself flowed out of a space industrial base workshop that met in New Mexico in May and brought together 120 experts in government, industry, and academia; but the report that they produced is not an official policy document. Rather, it’s an assessment of the state of the industrial base along with a set of recommendations. Nonetheless, “it is important that we listen to these insights and evaluate the feasibility of implementing them in the advancement of national interests. America’s future in space is a partnership and, as with any partnership, communication is key,” Raymond writes.

In the introduction, the report cites an assessment produced by Air Force Space Command in 2019 entitled “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy,” which itself was the product of yet another workshop. That report, among other things, complains that “China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy to explore and economically develop the cislunar domain with the explicit aim of displacing the U.S. as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies.”

“The U.S. is not alone in planning to return humans to the Moon or expanding the use of space,” the space industrial report says.

“China has announced its intention to do so by 2035. China 22 is committed and credible in its pledge to become the leading, global super-power, to include space, by 2049 marking the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic. A key component of China’s strategy is to displace the U.S. as the leading power in space and lure U.S. allies and partners away from U.S.-led space initiatives, through its Belt and Road Initiative and plans for an Earth Moon Economic Zone.”

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Officials Hail Rome NY Lab’s Foray Into Quantum Technology

Article by Dave Gymburch                              June 17, 2020                             (romesentinel.com)

• On June 15-16th , the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio sponsored a 2-day event in Rome, New York wherein small tech businesses could make a 20-minute pitch to senior Air Force officials as to novel approaches to advance quantum-enabling technology and applications. The program ultimately awarded 36 contracts to 23 companies from nine states, amounting to $5.4 million to small businesses.

• Rome Lab, the Air Force’s ‘super laboratory’ for science and technology, was praised by a Pentagon official for its key role in quantum technology research. Assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, Will Roper, said during a keynote session that Quantum technology is “one of those potential game-changers.” “What we hope to do… with Rome Lab leading the way, (is to) get that quantum technology over the goal line and into the warfighter’s hands,” said Roper.

• Roper praised New York Congressman Anthony Brindisi for the work being done at Rome Lab, formally known as the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate, and spoke about the importance of research for quantum development and the funding to support it.

• Quantum technology is considered an emerging field of physics and engineering, which relies on principles of quantum physics. Among potential impacts of quantum technology include GPS-like precision in locations where there is no GPS signal or it is severely degraded; ultra-secure global communication networks; high-precision sensors linked together with a quantum network; new computing paradigms for optimization of asset and resource allocations, discovery of new materials, and novel applications of artificial intelligence.

• Congressman Brindisi expressed the importance to bring together small business, industry, and academia with Department of Defense labs for “faster and more efficient development of quantum technology.”

• Rome Lab Director Colonel Timothy Lawrence said the event will hopefully be a “step in the right direction” for giving the Air Force, Space Force and the nation what is needed regarding quantum development.

 

                      Dr. Will Roper

Rome Lab’s key role in quantum technology research was praised by a Pentagon official during a two-day event aimed at enhancing small businesses’ involvement in the initiative.

Quantum technology is “one of those potential game-changers,” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, during a keynote session Monday for the virtual quantum collider pitch event.

“What we hope to do…the Air Force and the Space Force, with Rome Lab leading the way, is put year-after-year routine demand, routine challenges…routine funding to

Colonel Timothy Lawrence

bring Q-Day, the day we get that quantum technology over the goal line and into the warfighter’s hands…where we bring that early,” said Roper.

Earlier in the session after Congressman Anthony Brindisi spoke about the importance of research for quantum development and the funding to support it, Roper said “I applaud you for thinking ahead and making sure that all quantum roads lead to Rome…and really appreciate all the work the lab is doing in your district.” Rome Lab, based at Griffiss Park, is formally known as the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate.

Roper was among several speakers at the event, which included small businesses in private 20-minute pitch sessions with senior officials for novel approaches to advance quantum-enabling technology and/or applications. The AFRL program called for awarding up to 36 contracts and up to $5.4 million to small businesses in this phase of the initiative.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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