Tag: US Space Force

Biden Not Seen as a Threat to Space Force

Article by Sandra Erwin                                 November 9, 2020                                 (spacenews.com)

• President-elect Joe Biden has said he plans to reverse a number of Trump policies but he is expected to continue to support the US Space Force. “If Space Force did not already exist, I think Joe Biden probably would not create it. However I think it’s pretty unlikely that Biden would seriously try to eliminate Space Force at this point,” said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College. Burbach’s views are his own and he does not speak for the government.

• The Space Force is enshrined in Title 10 of the U.S. Code as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed services so any move to dismantle it would require congressional legislation. And the Republicans are poised to control the Senate. “No way the Republican Senate would go along with undoing that accomplishment for Trump,” said Burbach. “Things get institutionalized pretty quickly in Washington,” Burbach said. “I think it would be very difficult to roll back Space Force. We now have officers and enlisted personnel in the Space Force even if they haven’t figured out what to call them.”

• Burbach noted that there is broad consensus in Washington that space is a “contested domain.” Many Democrats agree that the Pentagon needed to do more to address threats to US space assets. “Space Force is not the solution that Democrats would have preferred but given that it’s been done, I think the focus will be on trying to make it work effectively.”

• Joshua Huminski, director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence and Global Affairs’ National Security Space Program, said it is too early to tell how President Biden will view Space Force. “I think the important thing to consider is that the intellectual foundation of the Space Force existed well before President Trump — the need for a separate culture, space as a warfighting domain, and the threat from Russia and China on orbit. That foundation, those needs, and the mission and threat will continue on and perhaps accelerate into President Biden’s administration, so you may see more constancy than immediate change.” “President Biden can set the tone, for sure,” says Huminski. “But Congress will ultimately have the final say.”

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force was a signature initiative of the Trump administration. President-elect Joe Biden has said he plans to reverse a number of Trump policies but he is expected to continue to support the U.S. Space Force, experts told SpaceNews.

             David Burbach

“If Space Force did not already exist, I think Joe Biden probably would not create it. However I think it’s pretty

                       Joshua Huminski

unlikely that Biden would seriously try to eliminate Space Force at this point,” said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.

Burbach said his views are his own and he does not speak for the government.

The Space Force is enshrined in Title 10 of the U.S. Code as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed services so any move to dismantle it would require congressional legislation.

With Republicans poised to control the Senate, that would be a non-starter, Burbach said. “No way the Republican Senate would go along with undoing that accomplishment for Trump.”

Burbach said the Space Force would not be targeted even if Democrats gained control of the Senate. “Things get institutionalized pretty quickly in Washington,” he said. “I think it would be very difficult to roll back Space Force. We now have officers and enlisted personnel in the Space Force even if they haven’t figured out what to call them.”

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NASA Commander to be Sworn into US Space Force From the International Space Station

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

• NASA astronaut and US Air Force colonel Michael Hopkins is the commander of an upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Hopkins is also planning to transfer to the US Space Force.

• “If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations of the US Space Force. Raymond is working with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the details of a planned transfer ceremony as a way to highlight the decades-long partnership between DoD and NASA.

• NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission is scheduled to launch on November 14th from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The crew of four includes Hopkins, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi (all 4 pictured above).

• For more than 60 years, men and women from the five military branches have helped fill the ranks of the NASA astronaut corps. Hopkins was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2009. Like hundreds of other Air Force airmen, Hopkins is voluntarily transferring to Space Force. He will be the first member of the Space Force to serve in NASA’s astronaut corps.

 

      Michael Hopkins

WASHINGTON — NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, a U.S. Air Force colonel and the commander of the upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, is transferring to the U.S. Space Force and is expected to be commissioned aboard the International Space Station.

         the International Space Station

“If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force.

Col. Michael “Hopper” Hopkins is the commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission scheduled to launch Nov. 14 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The crew of four includes Hopkins, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.

Col. Catie Hague, a spokesperson for the chief of space operations, told SpaceNews that the service is working with NASA to schedule a transfer ceremony once Hopkins is on board the International Space Station.

Hopkins, like hundreds of other airmen who are now in the Space Force, is transferring voluntarily. He was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2009.

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Pentagon Taps Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Track Hypersonic Weapons from Space

Article by Nolan Peterson                                  October 6, 2020                                 (wearethemighty.com)

• The US Department of Defense has awarded Elon Musk’s ‘Space X’ a $149 million contract to build satellites to track hypersonic missiles, as part of the Space Development Agency’s planned “mega-constellation” of weapons-tracking satellites. Both SpaceX and L3 Harris Technologies Inc. will produce four satellites for the Pentagon each. The satellites will be equipped with ‘wide field of view’ ‘overhead persistent infrared’ (OPIR) sensors.

• The commercial-built satellites will form the first layer of a planned surveillance network to track hypersonic missiles. Under the Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture, the US will put into orbit a constellation of hundreds of satellites, primarily in low Earth orbit, to track maneuverable hypersonic missiles — a weapons technology currently under development by both Russia and China.

• In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled new weapons that he touted would be able to defeat US missile defense systems. Among those new weapons was the ‘Avangard’ hypersonic glide vehicle, supposedly capable of flying at Mach 27. The Avangard reportedly went operational in December.

• In August, China tested a ballistic missile capable of carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle. The flight paths of intercontinental ballistic missiles can be easily predicted after launch. Hypersonic missiles, however, can be steered in flight, making them much harder to track and a more evasive mark for anti-missile defense systems.

• Some experts warn that the Pentagon’s ‘Hypersonic and Ballistic Missile Tracking Space Sensor’ program doesn’t have enough funding and is plagued with challenges when it comes to integrating with other missile defense systems and linking to advanced interceptors and directed energy weapons.

• The US Space Force already possesses missile-tracking satellites in high geosynchronous orbits. The new satellites will operate from much lower orbits and will therefore have a comparatively limited field of view, requiring the creation of a constellation of satellites that can effectively hand off tracking responsibilities as they follow the flight path of a hypersonic weapon from horizon to horizon.

• SpaceX and L3 Harris are expected to deliver their first of eight satellites by fall of 2022. Initial operating capability is expected by 2024. The entire missile-tracking constellation is planned for completion by 2026.

• SpaceX has already launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, powered into orbit by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. It marked America’s return to active spaceflight operations after a nine-year hiatus following the last space shuttle flight in 2011. SpaceX was recently selected by the Space Force to carry out national security space launch missions over the next five years. SpaceX’s Starlink program is currently creating a mega-constellation of small satellites in low Earth orbit to provide global broadband coverage for high-speed internet access. SpaceX anticipates Starlink will achieve “near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”

 

                         Elon Musk

SpaceX has won a $149 million Department of Defense contract to build satellites to track hypersonic missiles, marking the first government contract for building such equipment for Elon Musk’s groundbreaking commercial spaceflight company.

As part of the Space Development Agency’s planned “mega-constellation” of weapons-tracking satellites, both SpaceX and L3 Harris Technologies Inc. will produce four satellites for the Pentagon to track hypersonic weapons. The L3 Harris contract to build its four satellites is reportedly valued at $193 million.

The eight commercially produced satellites will be equipped with wide field of view (WFOV) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensors. Those satellites will form the first layer of a planned surveillance network to track hypersonic missiles.

Under the Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture, the US will put into orbit a constellation of hundreds of satellites, primarily in low Earth orbit, to track maneuverable hypersonic missiles — a weapons technology currently under development by both Russia and China.

In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled new weapons that he touted would be able to defeat US missile defense systems. Among those new weapons was the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, supposedly capable of flying at Mach 27. The Avangard reportedly went operational in December.

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