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Subject: Space and Counterspace
EW3    10/30/2006 9:09:19 PM
Background read. http://www.afa.org/magazine/June2006/0606space.html Of interest is the success ofthe XSS missions and the move to the ANGELS missions. Now if we add that solid state laser to one of these.... Space and Counterspace By John A. Tirpak, Executive Editor The Pentagon is hoping it can avoid conflict in space. More than any other nation, the United States is heavily dependent on space assets for all manner of enabling functions, from eye-in-the-sky information about adversaries to communications and navigation. The US has the most to lose if space becomes a battleground. However, it is this very dependency on space that makes those assets such an attractive target. Already, other countries have, on a few occasions, attempted to damage or jam satellites, and the United States has been the mark of some of those attempts. Though it hopes to avoid an arms race in space, the Pentagon nevertheless has to take some steps to prepare for such a clash. The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review once again took up the subject. Compared to the QDR conducted in 2001, the 2005 version was mild in tone. The earlier version—coming on the heels of the 2001 report of the Space Commission—stridently insisted that the US must not only exploit the advantages of the “high ground” of space, but that it also should develop a robust means to deny the use of space assets to any adversary. The new QDR, released in February, simply noted that Washington must have “unfettered, reliable, and secure” access to its space assets, assured, for now, by “improving space situational awareness and protection, and through other space control measures.” The Air Force is taking its cue from the QDR, focusing most of its nonclassified efforts at space superiority on systems that will broadly enhance its knowledge of what’s in orbit, as well as its ability to know if American space systems are under attack. What’s Up There? “We have to know what’s up there,” said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. “We have to continually modernize the early warning systems to know what is up there, what has been added, what are the orbital paths, and what are the opportunities to see.” This is what the United States must do to avoid “a Pearl Harbor in space,” Moseley observed. The emphasis remains on space situational awareness, rather than attacks of adversary systems, because, as Moseley noted, “There’s a 1996 convention on military activities in space, and, as you would expect us to do, we actually live within the law and attempt in every way to stay within the policy guidance. So we, in fact, do that.” The US will certainly develop means “to be able to defend our systems,” he added, to “make them survivable and make them so we know where they are [and] where other systems are relative to them.” However, there’s not much decided beyond that, he said. “It’s going to take a bit more of a policy discussion to move from defensive counterspace and space situational awareness” into offensive counterspace. Moseley also noted that it’s still an open discussion as to how space conflict is directed and coordinated. Strategic Command, he said, has the overall responsibility for coordinating space awareness and action, but the Air Force, as the service with the greatest space infrastructure, is the principal provider of space control capabilities to STRATCOM. Still, USAF must be collaborative with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the other services, and other agencies, both military and civilian. “There are so many players in this,” Moseley noted, that “you have to ... bring people in, you have to continue to demonstrate competence, and continue to work this supporting-and-supported [command] relationship.” Moseley asserted, though, that space is fundamentally an Air Force mission. “It’s in my world,” he said. “I got it; now let’s get all these other people together, so we’re not fussing with each other and we can ... move down this path together.” He hopes to reduce the number of moving parts in the organization of space control and neck down the number of agencies involved so there aren’t “a lot of people launching systems.” Maj. Gen. Mark D. Shackelford, director of plans and requirements at Air Force Space Command, said the relationship between MDA, the Air Force, and the other agencies “is still developing.” Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, Space Command’s acting commander, said that, as MDA “becomes more space-oriented, which I suspect they’re considering in the future, we will be hand in hand with them through that process, and I suspect they will want us to help them understand what’s going on around their satellites.” Not Adequate In March, Klotz told the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on strategic forces that space situational awareness capabilities “are not adequate to counter future threats” and that the Air Force must “know what each new spacecraft is capable of before it is in pos
 
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Nanheyangrouchuan       10/30/2006 9:13:21 PM
I think the Chinese ASAT lasers that have hit US satellites are deliberately underpowered.
 
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EW3       10/31/2006 9:21:14 AM

Intersesting possibility. 
There are a lot of techincal difficulties with using a ground based laser against satellites.  Lots of focusing problems due to the layers of the atmosphere, as well as a lot of energy lost in the heavy atmosphere.   At this point I suspect we can let them play this game.  They are providing us a challenge to sharpen our skills with.  They don't want to play too rough, unless we have a wonton soup sucking surrender monkey for a president (like Hillary).
 
I think the Chinese ASAT lasers that have hit US satellites are deliberately underpowered.


 
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