If the United States is to maintain military advantage in space, as President Trump has promised – and as his new Space Force is meant to do – U.S. policy and strategic decisions should be informed by an understanding of China’s ambitions to become an “aerospace superpower” – and how the Chinese military has reorganized itself to seek dominance in space.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which arrived at the near-Earth asteroid on June 27 after a journey of more than three years, released the MINERVA-II1 container from a height of about 60 meters (SN Online: 6/27/18). The container then released two 18-centimeter-wide, cylindrical rovers. Because Ryugu’s gravity is so weak, the rovers can hop using rotating motors that generate a torque and send them airborne for about 15 minutes.
In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan delivered an Oval Office speech to announce his Strategic Defense Initiative -- or as it was dubbed by critics, “Star Wars.” He proposed a space-based missile defense program that would have placed infrastructure featuring high-powered lasers, beams of atomic particles, and rocket interceptors in orbit to shoot down enemy missiles before they reached the United States.
Sixty years after NASA was formed, countries around the world have joined the space race, with an eye to putting a person on Mars. But experts say the future of space activity may rest with private corporations that are building their own products, launching commercial satellites and even exploring small missions. In spite of interplanetary probes like New Horizons, which have reached past Pluto, and successful robotic explorations of Mars, some scientists say progress isn't coming quickly enough.
When the satellite Cosmos 2519 was launched into space by Russia last year, the world did not know why. Now, a US diplomat warned a global arms control conference in Geneva on Aug. 14 that “we are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space apparatus inspector.’ We don’t know for certain what it is, and there is no way to verify it.”
The current plan for reorganizing the Pentagon’s space acquisition efforts and operations U.S. consists of four components: (1) forming a new combatant command, (2) pulling together a new warfighting community for space operations from all the other service branches, (3) creating a new joint agency to procure satellites for the military, and if everything goes well, ask Congress to (4) stand up “an entirely new branch of the military with services a
Complaints about Chinese acquisition of Russian rocket technology have become a common refrain in Russian state media. (The Kremlin exercises heavy influence over Lenta.ru’s editorial decision-making, like many of the country’s media outlets.) China is now close to a working copy of the Soviet-designed yet still effective RD-180 rocket engine, due to what Russia has painted as a multi-decade ripoff of its technology.
NASA has announced the nine astronauts that will crew the test flights and first missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Crew for the Starliner test flight are NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu-Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have been selected to take part in the Crew Dragon test flight.
In coming months, Defense Department leaders plan to stand up three of the four components of the new Space Force: a new combatant command for space, a new joint agency to buy satellites for the military, and a new warfighting community that draws space operators from all service branches.
Within a decade, U.S. troops may get some supplies from prepositioned stocks in space -- if the Air Force’s mobility commander can make his vision come true. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II is already talking with SpaceX and other space-services companies about that and other space-related initiatives, the leader of Air Force Mobility Command told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast Thursday.