Tag: Space Operations Command

Space Force Doesn’t Want to Send a Human to Do a Robot’s Job

Article by Nathan Strout                                 September 29, 2020                                 (c4isrnet.com)

• While Space Force officials have tried to keep the focus on what their personnel will do on the ground to support the nation’s space assets, this hasn’t dampened public speculation as to when Space Force will they send humans into orbit. A recent recruiting ad seemingly implied its members would literally be going to space.

• But for anyone joining the Space Force to be an astronaut, Maj. Gen. John Shaw has some bad news. “I think it will happen,” Shaw said on September 29th, “But I think it’s a long way off.” Shaw serves as both commander of Space Force’s Space Operations Command and for the U.S. Space Command’s Combined Force Space Component Command. Shaw sees two big reasons why it’s not likely to happen soon: “First, space isn’t really all that habitable for humans.” “And the second is, we’re getting darned good at this robotics thing in space.”

• “You know, the best robots that humans have ever created are probably satellites — either ones that explore other planets or operated within our own Earth/moon system,” said Shaw. “GPS satellites might be among those …and we’re only getting better with machine learning and artificial intelligence. We’re going to have an awful lot of automated and autonomous systems operating in Earth and lunar orbit and solar orbit in the days and years to come doing national security space activity.”

• The Space Force and the US Air Force are investing in robotic capabilities that preclude the need for humans in space. Most notable is the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Spacecraft (RSGS) program being run by DARPA (illustrated above). With RSGS, DARPA wants to develop a robotic arm that can be placed on a free flying spacecraft which can navigate up to satellites to conduct repairs, orbital adjustments, or even install new payloads. DARPA hopes to launch a robotically enhanced vehicle into orbit in late 2022, where SpaceLogistics will provide the spacecraft and DARPA will provide the robotic arm.

• The Air Force Research Laboratory is building ROBOpilot, a robot that can fly planes, completely replacing the need for human pilots. It can press pedals to activate brakes, pull on the yoke to steer, adjust the throttle, and even read the dashboard instruments to see where it is and where it’s going.

• The secretive X-37b space plane is an unmanned vehicle is currently able to take off, carry host experiments into orbit, deploy satellites, and return to earth without humans on board.

• But Shaw believes that it’s inevitable. “At some point, yes, we will be putting humans into space,” said Shaw. “They may be operating command centers somewhere in the lunar environment or someplace else that are continuing to operate an architecture that is largely perhaps autonomous.”

• In July, the Sierra Nevada Corporation announced it had received a study contract for such autonomous orbital outposts in low Earth orbit. Missions will include hosting payloads, supporting space assembly and manufacturing, microgravity experimentation, logistics, training, testing and evaluations. SpaceNews confirmed that two other companies – Nanoracks and Arkisys – have also received study contracts.

• While these orbital outposts will be unmanned for now, a Defense Innovation Unit spokesperson said that it would be interested in securing a “human rating” for future outposts. So even if humans on orbit are not part of the military’s immediate plans, it remains a tantalizing possibility. “At some point that will happen. I just don’t know when,” said Shaw. “And it’s anybody’s guess to pick the year when that happens.”

 

                  Maj. Gen. John Shaw

Since it was established in Dec. 2019 — and probably even before that — one question has plagued the U.S. Space Force: when will they send humans into orbit?

While Space Force officials have tried to keep the focus on what their personnel will do on the ground to support the nation’s space assets, they’ve done little to dampen speculation. The Space Force probably didn’t help itself when it released a recruiting ad earlier this year that seemingly implied its members would literally be going to space.

But for anyone joining the Space Force to be an astronaut, Maj. Gen. John Shaw has some potentially bad news.

“I think it will happen,” said Shaw during the AFWERX Engage Space event Sept. 29. “But I think it’s a long way off.”

Shaw would know. He’s been a key member of the lean staff standing up both the Space Force and U.S. Space Command, serving simultaneously as commander of the former’s Space Operations Command and the latter’s Combined Force Space Component Command. While Shaw sees humans in orbit as part of the military’s plans somewhere down the line, there are two big reasons why it’s not likely to happen soon:
“First, space isn’t really all that habitable for humans. We’ve learned that since our early space days,” he explained. “And the second is, we’re getting darned good at this robotics thing in space.”

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Space Force Details Structure of New Service

Article by Christen McCurdy                                  June 30, 2020                                (upi.com)

• Since the military branch’s inception in December 2019, more than 16,000 military members and civilians have been assigned to the Space Force, including over 8,500 active-duty members of the Air Force who have volunteered for Space Force. Said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, “This is the most significant restructuring of space units undertaken by the United States since the establishment of Air Force Space Command in 1982,”

• General Jay Raymond, USSF Chief of Space Operations said in a June 30th press release, “This is an historic opportunity to launch the Space Force on the right trajectory to deliver the capabilities needed to ensure freedom of movement and deter aggression in, from and to space. How we organize the Space Force will have a lasting impact on our ability to respond with speed and agility to emerging threats in support of the National Defense Strategy and Space Strategy.”

• Under the new organizational structure, Space Force will be comprised of three field commands: the Space Operations Command (aka ‘SpOC’); Space Systems Command (aka ‘SSC’); and Space Training and Readiness Command (aka ‘STARCOM’).

• Space Operations Command is the “field command” comprised of commands, deltas and squadrons. The field organization would “consolidate and align all organize, train and equip mission execution” from space-related units formerly run by the Air Force. It will be headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

• Space Systems Command will be responsible for launch, developmental testing, on-orbit checkout and maintenance of USSF systems. It will also be responsible for developing and acquiring lethal space capabilities for warfighters.

• Space Training and Readiness Command will train and educate space professionals and develop combat-ready troops to address the challenges of combat in space.

• “Innovation and efficiency are driving our mission as we position the Space Force to respond with agility to protect our nation’s space capabilities and the American way of life,” said Barrett.

 

           Gen. John “Jay” Raymond

June 30 (UPI) — The Space Force will be comprised of three field commands, with many of the Air Force’s existing space acquisition organizations being moved into a newly created Space Systems Command, the service announced on Tuesday.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett

USSF officials said the field organization would “consolidate and align all organize, train and equip mission execution” from space-related units formerly run by the Air Force.

“This is an historic opportunity to launch the Space Force on the right trajectory to deliver the capabilities needed to ensure freedom of movement and deter aggression in, from and to space,” Gen. Jay Raymond, USSF chief of space operations, said in a press release. “How we organize the Space Force will have a lasting impact on our ability to respond with speed and agility to emerging threats in support of the National Defense Strategy and Space Strategy.”

The USSF field echelons will be called, in order of hierarchy, field commands, deltas and squadrons.

The service’s field commands will be called Space Operations Command, or SpOC, Space Systems Command, or SSC, and Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM.

The first two field commands will be led by three-star general officers, and the third will be led by a two-star general.

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Space Force Recruits Special Ops Commander to Lead Space Commandos With Antigravity Spacecraft

The United States Space Force has just recruited and promoted the Commander of the Air Force’s 1st Special Operations Wing who had led covert operations around the world and in space. This clears the way for antigravity vehicles that were secretly deployed out of select Air Force bases to be transferred over to Space Force and for many “Air Commandos” to be renamed as “Space Commandos”.

Brig General Michael Conley

Colonel Michael Conley who headed the Air Force’s 1st Special Operations Wing was promoted to Brigadier General in his new assignment as second in charge of Space Operations Command that currently makes up the bulk of the newly created Space Force with nearly 16,000 personnel.

The personnel are distributed over five Air Force bases – Vandenberg, Peterson, Patrick, Schriever, and Buckley – which according to the head of Space Force, General Jay Raymond, are soon to be renamed space bases.

In his previous assignment at Air Forces Special Operations Command (AFSOC), as head of one of the Air Force’s eight special operations wings, Conley led covert personnel known as “Air Commandos” which the AFSOC website describes as follows:

We are America’s Air Commandos
We are Air Commandos, quiet professionals, Airmen personally committed to our craft. As the air component of U.S. Special Operations Command, we are capable and ready to conduct special operations anytime, anyplace. We are disciplined professionals dedicated to continuous improvement. Innovative and adaptable, our rigorous and realistic training helps us manage uncertainty and mitigate risk. By training smarter and harder than others, we define our limits, and learn when and where to push them. Inherently joint, we build credibility through habitual relationships that sustain us in the fight. We believe that one person makes a difference. And as our Air Commando heritage demands, we remain culturally bound to get the mission done, or find a way where none exists.

Conley led the 1st Special Operations Wing, from 2018 to 2020 at Hurlburt Field, in Florida. It was during his leadership that a number of triangle and rectangle-shaped antigravity vehicles were photographed near MacDill Air Force Base, home of Pentagon’s Special Operations Command.

The photographer, who uses the pseudonym JP and currently serves with the US Army, says that he was taken aboard several of these vehicles, which he photographed on several occasions with the active encouragement of covert Air Force personnel.

JP witnessed personnel on a rectangle-shaped antigravity vehicle who wore patches of Air Force Special Operations. The same patches are worn by the special operations wing that was led by Conley at Hurlburt Field, which worked closely with MacDill’s Special Operations Command in covert operations around the world and in space.

This raises the distinct possibility that Conley was involved in the decision to allow antigravity vehicles manned by Air Force Commandos flying near MacDill AFB to be photographed by JP.

If so, then Conley was actively part of the covert disclosure initiative by the USAF to reveal its arsenal of antigravity vehicles to the general public, which I described in detail in the book, US Air Force Secret Space Program (2019).

This possibility gives added significance to Conley’s appointment and promotion to Space Force, and strengthens claims that the Space Force was created with the intent of revealing the Air Force’s secret space program (SSP).

Regardless of the question of whether Conley was part of an Air Force initiative to publicly begin acclimating the public to its secret space program in 2018, his new position as deputy commander of Space Force’s “Space Operations Command” means that he is in charge of transferring relevant Air Force covert aerospace operations over to Space Force.

General Conley will now oversee the reassignment of “Air Commandos” to “Space Commandos”, and transfer covert space assets used by the Air Force’s “1st Special Operations Wing” – some of which were photographed in 2017-2018 near MacDill AFB – to Space Force.

As Space Force continues to develop with the acquisition of personnel and resources, it is expected that more of the bureaucratic structures that supported the Air Force’s SSP, will be increasingly made transparent as it is transferred over to Space Force.

General Conley and the transition of “air commandos” to “space commandos” is merely one step in a transition process, which ultimately aims to have decades-old technologies deployed by the USAF SSP to be declassified as recent acquisitions by the new Space Force. This process will simultaneously inspire the American public with the impressive technologies deployed by Space Force, boost recruitment interest in the new military service, while deflecting away from troubling questions of why such technologies were not declassified decades earlier.

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