Tag: US Air Force

Astrophysicist on Top Secret US Air Force Craft Used for ‘Testing Hardware’ in Space

 

Article by Douglas Charles                               March 23, 2020                                  (brobible.com)

• In a YouTube video (see below), astrophysicist Scott Manley discusses the US Air Force’s use of a secret craft known as the X-37B. The USAF has been deployed the small, reusable robotic space plane over the past ten years in classified payload missions in low Earth orbit.

• Manley, who holds a Masters in computation physics, recounted the X-37B’s history as a NASA project that saw its first flight in 2005. A ‘White Knight’ carrier aircraft would carry the X-37B to its launch altitude and release it. After several tests, it made a successful drop and flight in 2006 where “the thing flew beautifully”. Under autonomous control, the craft landed perfectly in the center of the runway, but ran off the end of it sustaining minor damage. But NASA repaired it and conducted further flawless test flights.

• It was then that the US Air Force took notice and built an X-37B of it own under a classified DoD project. Being an autonomous craft, “There is no cockpit, or windows, or anything like that for people inside, but there is a payload bay door that is a couple of meters long,” says Manley.

• Manley says that “there have been five flights with this vehicle” so far. There are actually two separate X-37B vehicles having “subtle differences in their hardware.” The X-37B has a large engine in the rear with control thrusters at the front and rear, neatly integrated onto the surface of the craft. The original NASA design called a pair of engines using hydrogen peroxide and a kerosene-based jet propellant. The Air Force version uses more volatile propellants.

• Manley believes that the US Air Force “…is testing hardware for future satellites.” “They can test the electronics, sensors, propulsion, thermal control systems…[to] assess how it performs in space and how it [degrades] over time.” Manley says that while NASA uses its X37B with the International Space Station, the Air Force would prefer to keep its upgraded classified version away from prying eyes.

 

                          Scott Manley

According to details recently reported by the Daily Express, “The U.S. Air Force has a top-secret mission in

space that uses an old NASA project to ‘test hardware’ in the cosmos before officially launching it.”

That information was shared by astrophysicist Scott Manley with his 1.03 million subscribers on his popular YouTube channel. (Manley notes in his bio that he is not a professional YouTuber, he has a day job, and doesn’t take sponsored content for his videos.)

In his video titled “Everything We Know About The U.S. Air Force’s Secret Space Plane – The X-37B,” Manley discusses the classified missions that the Air Force has been carrying out for the past 10 years in low Earth orbit using a small reusable robotic space plane designated X-37B.

Manley, who holds a Masters in computation physics, states in the video while discussing the history of the plane, “NASA’s X-37 would see its first flight in 2005, carried under the White Knight, the carrier aircraft that would take the spaceship one vehicle to its launch altitude, where it would perform its prize-winning flights.

“So it did several captive carry tests and in 2006 they finally got to drop it and test it and the thing flew beautifully under a fully autonomous control, it aimed for the runway, it put itself down gently in the center of the runway and ran off the end where it sustained some minor damage.

12:37 minutes – Scott Manley describing the NASA/USAF X-37B (‘Scott Manley’ YouTube)

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Space Force Needs to Prepare for a Cold War in Earth’s Orbit

 

Article by Luke Dormehl                            March 14, 2020                           (digitaltrends.com)

• The United States launched Explorer 1, its first satellite, into space on January 31, 1958. Since then we have ramped up our reliance on these orbiting objects with every passing year. Today, there are over 2,000 active satellites in orbit belonging to both governments and private industry with more going up all the time.

• Three-star US Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who retired in July 2017, is worried about satellites. He’s not worried about the tremendously increasing number of satellites in Earth’s orbit. He’s worried about other nations’ capabilities to disable them or knock them out of orbit. Says Bogden, “Space is a new warfighting domain. Our job is to try and help the Department of Defense to become space warfighters.”

• One of the greatest threats to American satellite assets is the new ‘hunter-killer satellites’. These can fire jets of plasma to blast objects out of orbit. They are claimed to be useful in cleaning up space junk – shooting at an inactive satellite until it eventually disintegrates in the Earth’s atmosphere. But a hunter-killer satellites can also knock an active satellite from its designated orbit, rendering it useless. Bogden says that these hunter-killer have already been deployed by rival nations into space.

• Bogden is also concerned about foreign satellites getting too close to our satellites, or even smashing into them – called a “conjunction” of satellites. But hunter-killer satellites can also disrupt an active satellite by merely getting close to it, disrupting its maneuverability and its electro-magnetic field.

• Another threat involves anti-satellite missiles fired from the ground. China, India, and Russia have all demonstrated such weapons as a show of force.

• Knocking out satellites has the potential for massive damage. From a military perspective, satellites carry out worldwide sensing and imaging, and space-based communications, which are crucial for global voice and data communications on Earth. We also rely on satellites for GPS, or the global positioning system. Loss of these capabilities, says Bogden, could put America at an enormous ‘warfighting disadvantage’.

• For example, in January 2015, the US Air Force took just one of its GPS satellites offline. Somehow a fractionally wrong time was accidentally uploaded to the remaining satellites and caused twelve hours of severe problems. Global telecommunications networks were compromised. Police, fire and EMS radio equipment in parts of the US stopped working. BBC digital radio was knocked out for a couple of days for many people. And an anomaly was detected on electrical power grids. All from a time discrepancy of just thirteen-millionths of a second. If several satellites were disabled, it would be nothing short of a disaster.

• To avoid this type of scenario, we rely on a 1967 ‘Outer Space Treaty’ among Russia, Britain and the United States that provides guideline in settling disputes regarding the allocation of resources in space, and a 1963 treaty prohibiting nuclear explosions in outer space. But sixty years ago we didn’t consider space a ‘war-fighting domain’ as we do today. As Bogden says, “[W]e felt that no-one would [ever] threaten our space assets.”

[Editor’s Note]  Just like our electric grid and the internet, we are completely dependent on the 2218 satellites currently orbiting our planet (that we know of). And the world’s military and commercial titans are just starting to ramp up the number of satellites that will be deployed in the near future. The Pentagon has announced a National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA) satellite constellation consisting of seven layers of military capabilities. The first layer alone will deploy hundreds of satellites. (see Exoarticle here) The US, Russia and India all have its own GPS navigation system satellite constellations. (see Techworm article here) And one of the Pentagon’s NDSA layers will be an entirely new back-up GPS system. Yet all of these government satellites will be dwarfed by the commercial use of satellites in the future. Elon Musk alone plans to deploy up to 45,000 internet satellites in a SpaceX Starlink mega constellation. It’s no wonder that the Pentagon’s ‘first offensive space weapon’ is a ground-based satellite communications jamming system. (see The Drive/The Warzone article here)

Of course, this ‘modern’ anti-satellite weapons technology is primitive compared to what we truly have in space already, unknown to the vast majority of the world. It appears that the deep state will use a new military space race as their next Cold War distraction from what is really going on. Still, our inexorable encroachment into space only increases the odds that the secret space programs and the ubiquitous extraterrestrial presence will have to reveal itself to the world.

 

“The bottom line,” said retired three-star general Chris Bogdan, “is that we want to learn how to fight in space. Just as we know how to fight on air, land, sea, and, in some respects, in cyberspace. Space is a new warfighting domain. Our job is to try and help the Department of Defense to become space warfighters.”

Bogdan knows a thing or two about militarized combat. Over a 34-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Bogdan rose from a test pilot, flying no less than

   Lieutenant General (ret) Chris Bogdan

30 different aircraft types, to the rank of lieutenant general. For the last five years of his career, before he retired in July 2017, he was program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program for the Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and 11 allied nations. He has one of those grizzled, no-nonsense voices which suggests that he has forgotten more about warfighting before breakfast that day than you’ve ever known in your entire life. On balance, that’s probably not a bad guess.

                  a hunter-killer satellite

Right now, Chris Bogdan is worried about satellites. But not for the same reason that many people are. Recently, satellites have gotten a bum rap. Astronomers have sounded the alarm regarding the plan of individuals like Elon Musk to launch enormous, sky-blotting mega-constellations of satellites. Bogdan doesn’t seem to be so tied up in knots about extra stuff being shot into space, however. Instead, he’s far more concerned about the stuff that’s already in space being shot down. Or, at least, being tampered with.

He’s particularly uneasy about things called hunter-killer satellites, deployed by one of the United States’ “pure adversaries,” being used to screw with America’s network of “space assets.”

A new kind of threat

A hunter-killer satellite represents a new kind of threat. In a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2018, researchers from the Australian National University describe a hunter-killer satellite that can fire jets of plasma to blast objects out of orbit. They suggested that such a satellite could be used to help clean up space junk; shooting it down until it eventually disintegrates in Earth’s atmosphere. But such a tool could be used for more malicious purposes as well. A hunter-killer satellite might damage or purposely knock off-course a crucial active satellite, thereby negatively impacting its ability to operate.

“What we’re most concerned about is what we call conjunction,” Bogdan said. “That’s a space term describing two things colliding in space. But you don’t need to actually hit something in space to affect it or reduce its capability. You can fly a hunter-killer satellite close enough to a satellite that you can disrupt maneuvering or its electro-magnetic field to do a host of different things.”

How far away from deployment does he think these hunter-killer satellites, developed by those who don’t have America’s best interests at heart, might be? “I believe they’ve already been deployed,” he said.

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Elon Musk Calls on Space Force to Embrace Fully Reusable Rockets: ‘Make Starfleet Happen’

 

Article by Sandra Erwin                           February 28, 2020                              (spacenews.com)

• On February 28th at the Air Force Association’s annual winter symposium in Orlando, Florida, SpaceX founder Elon Musk joined the commander of the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Lt. Gen. John Thompson (both pictured above), for a “fireside chat”. “How do we make Starfleet real?” Musk asked the audience of US Air Force airmen who are now transitioning to the Space Force.

• Musk said that the future of air warfare is in autonomous drone warfare. “The fighter jet era has passed.” The ‘ticket to the future’, says Musk, is to make extensive use of reusable launch vehicles rather than expendable boosters. “I think we can go a long way to make Starfleet real and these utopian futures real.” Of course, Musk is referring to the type of rockets that his SpaceX company builds such as the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets which are ‘partially reusable’, and the new Starship vehicle currently in development which is ‘fully reusable’.

• The military will test Musk’s reusable rockets for the first time with the upcoming Falcon 9 launch of a GPS satellite on April 29th. The Space and Missile Systems Center will allow SpaceX to attempt to land the booster on a droneship at sea.

• In 2018, SpaceX was turned down on a bid for a Launch Service Agreement contract that would help to fund the Starship’s development. The Air Force awarded LSA contracts to three other companies, prompting SpaceX to file a legal challenge that is still pending.

• Musk cast Starship as an example of “radical innovation” that will keep the United States in the lead as other nations like China advance their space capabilities. “I have zero doubt that if the United States does not create innovations in space, it will be second in space.” Musk says that Starship will enable access to deep space and the eventual colonization of Mars. He encouraged rival companies to start building fully reusable vehicles like Starship and create a more competitive industry. Musk suggested there should be more ‘disruptive competition’ in the defense industry.

[Editor’s Note]  Musk strongly advocates “radical innovations” in space and “more disruptive competition in the defense industry” that will keep the United States in the lead as other nations like China advance their space capabilities. But what are these radical innovations? Eighty-year-old rocket technology. Apparently, the deep state military industrial complex wants to continue to hide its advanced exotic technologies, such as anti-gravity that the US Air Force uses in their advanced TR3B black triangle craft, and portable nuclear fusion reactor propulsion which the US Navy has publicly revealed in recent patent filings. (see ExoArticles here and here)

The deep state also wants to continue hiding the fact that the US military has deployed these technologically advanced spacecraft since the US Navy’s Solar Warden fleet in the 1980’s. Since then, these types of spacecraft have traversed not only the solar system, but the galaxy. Space travel within the solar system using these advanced propulsion technologies – not rockets- has become routine.

Who better to do the deep state’s bidding than the thoroughly compromised Elon Musk, who denies the existence of such advanced spacecraft and the presence of extraterrestrials? Musk isn’t interested in revealing the truth. Musk is only interested in the US government buying his revamped rocket technology to make himself a fortune.

 

ORLANDO, Fla. — In his first appearance at a military conference since the establishment of the U.S. Space Force, SpaceX founder Elon Musk gave his usual pitch on the virtues of reusable rockets. But he tailored the message to an audience of airmen who started their careers in the U.S. Air Force but are now transitioning to a new service and pondering the possibilities.

 Elon Musk: keeping the Deep State’s secrets

“How do we make Starfleet real?” Musk asked to roaring applause during a one-hour fireside chat with the commander of the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Lt. Gen. John Thompson Feb. 28 at the Air Force Association’s annual winter symposium.

Musk then answered his own question, insisting that reusable launch vehicles are “absolutely fundamental” to achieving whatever space ambitions the military might have, including staying ahead of China.

Many of Musk’s comments on reusable rockets were repeats of what he said at a previous appearance at an Air Force conference Nov. 5 in San Francisco, where he also sat down with Thompson.

On Friday, Musk made multiple references to the fictional Star Trek “Starfleet” to hammer the message that reusable rockets are the ticket to the future. “I think we can go a long way to make Starfleet real and these utopian futures real.”

But none of this can happen as long as the military continues to rely on expendable boosters, said Musk.

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