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How private enterprise is solving the vulnerability of satellites to military attack

Link here. The essay provides a nice overview of the U.S. military’s present conundrum on protecting all American satellites in orbit, not just military ones, and what it is beginning to do to solve it, now that the Space Force exists.

The approach is following three paths, with only the last two having any hope of success. First, the Biden administration is trying diplomacy to convince space-faring nations to ban future anti-satellite tests. This approach has really little chance of success.

The other two avenues involve innovations from private enterprise, launching many small satellites as part of a large constellation and in-orbit servicing, repair, and refueling. The first creates redundancy, making it difficult for any enemy power to easily destroy U.S. assets. The second provides capabilities for both fixing important satellites as well as attacking our enemy’s without causing space junk. Both will become common in the coming years, and thus will become very viable tools for military use.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • pzatchok

    I was just thinking.(strange)

    But what is the effect and diameter of a nuclear explosion in space?

    Such as if they set one off in orbit how large of an area would it produce a propulsive effect on nearby satellites? How close would it have to be to throw a satellite out of proper orbit?

    I know they tested explosions in space before but did they ever actually move something with one?

  • Jeff Wright

    This should be required reading
    https://www.wired.com/2015/02/strategic-defense-military-uses-moon-asteroid-resources-1983/

    The Defense Applications of Near-Earth Resources Workshop took place in La Jolla, California, on 15, 16, and 17 August 1983.

    Participants in the La Jolla workshop proposed more than a dozen SDI applications for lunar and asteroid resources. What follows is a description of the top three applications in terms of the mass of lunar and asteroid materials required. Much of the wide-ranging prospecting, mining, and processing the La Jolla workshop advocated would lead to in-space manufacture of “armor” made of lunar aluminum, asteroid iron, and aluminum and iron alloys created by adding small amounts of metals launched from Earth. The workshop report noted that military space systems launched from Earth tended to be made as light-weight as possible to reduce launch costs; this made them fragile and vulnerable if attacked.

    “On the other hand,” the workshop report continued, “if a relatively inexpensive (500-1000 dollars per kilogram) supply of construction materials became available high above Earth, defensive systems would likely be designed very differently, with greater capabilities and greater survivability.” Layered armor for an SDI missile-defense platform with a cross-sectional area of 20 square meters would have a mass of about 400 metric tons; 100 such platforms would thus require about 40,000 metric tons of armor.

    Layered metal armor would blunt attacks by kinetic-energy weapons (that is, weapon systems that fired solid projectiles); for defense against particle beams or nuclear explosions, however, radiation shielding would be needed. After armor, the most important application of space resources in terms of mass was what the La Jolla workshop report dubbed “stabilizing inertia.” An enemy attack might cause a missile-defense platform to spin out of control even if its armor shielded it from damage. Mounting the platform on a chunk of raw asteroid would greatly increase its mass, making it much harder to shove around.”

    “Third after armor and stabilizing inertia were heat sinks. The La Jolla workshop anticipated that missile-defense systems – for example, missile-destroying lasers powered by exploding nuclear bombs – would generate a great deal of waste heat very rapidly. Without places for the heat to go, they could easily destroy themselves. A heat sink might take the form of a large tank of water or large block of metal.”

    That was all before this discovery
    https://earthsky.org/space/astronomers-confirm-a-2nd-trojan-asteroid-for-earth/

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