Community > Forum > Historical Ansari X Prize > Military Implications of the X-Prize

Military Implications of the X-Prize

Posted by: TerraMrs - Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:17 am
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 26 posts ] 
Military Implications of the X-Prize 
Author Message
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post Military Implications of the X-Prize   Posted on: Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:17 am
It seems to me that no one has discussed the potential military ramifications of affordable X-Prize class vehicles, namely long-range, accurate strategic strikes and space worthy defenses. Personally, I believe that the potential for a long range, virtually unstoppable conventional guided strike from 100 km in altitude will require some major rethinking of defensive weaponry, especially if rogue nations can afford the hardware that will make it possible. The only two relatively easy ways of defending against such a threat that i can see are high altitude SAM missiles with the potential to enter space, or high-energy ground based lasers that could destroy either a vehicle or its electronics. Neither of these solutions would be easy, and both would require radical rethinking of current defensive strategy.


Back to top
Profile
avatar
Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:23 pm
why worry about defending against it if it created yet. space should be completly de-militerized


Back to top
avatar
Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:04 pm
Completely demilitarize space - that's a joke. If it weren't for US military efforts in space, we wouldn't have GPS, satellite communications and accurate weather forecasting, not to mention a host of other civilian applications.


Back to top
avatar
Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:40 pm
ok not completly but to a certain point


Back to top
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 12, 2003 1:58 am
i agree that space should be de-militarized for as long as feasible (by demilitarized i mean no weapons), but what are the odds of that. with so many nations, and the strategic benefits of a presence in space, as soon as it's affordable it'll happen.


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:25 am
Posts: 161
Location: DFW, Texas
Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:52 am
Control of space is at the crux of the debate about the future of U.S. military space policy. The question is not about militarizing space. Clearly, we have been using and will continue to use space for military purposes. But, whereas we are currently using space assets to support terrestrial (ground, sea, and air) military operations, what Sen. Robert C. Smith (R-N.H.), the Space Commission (which was chaired by current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld), and others have proposed is that the United States move toward “weaponizing” space for space control.

Advocates of a more aggressive U.S. military policy for space argue that the United States is more reliant on the use of space than is any other nation, that space systems are vulnerable to attack, and that U.S. space systems are thus an attractive candidate for a “space Pearl Harbor.” But as important and potentially vulnerable as current U.S. space-based assets may be, deploying actual weapons (whether defensive or offensive) will likely be perceived by the rest of the world as more threatening than the status quo. Any move by the United States to introduce weapons into space will surely lead to the development and deployment of anti-satellite weapons by potentially hostile nations. As the dominant user of space for military and civilian functions, the United States would have the most to lose from such an arms race.

Although there are legitimate (and unique) military requirements for space assets, virtually all are “dual use.” Military requirements should not necessarily dictate those other uses. In fact, commercial efforts in space often lead those of the government and the Department of Defense and usually have lower costs, due to market influences and competition. National security must be one component of total U.S. space policy, but it must certainly not be the primary component. In the post–Cold War environment—with no immediate threat from a rival great power and none on the horizon—the United States must not establish overstated and costly military requirements for space-based resources. The military must make greater use of commercial space assets. Also, the United States should strive to foster an environment that allows commercial space activity to grow and flourish rather than use it to create a new area for costly military competition.

The current threat to U.S. satellites does not warrant the near-term weaponization of space. Civilian space assets (which the United States depends on more and more in day-to-day life) are relatively more vulnerable than military systems; they are not hardened against nuclear attack and do not have anti-jamming capabilities. John Logsdon, director of the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University has stated: “There appears to be no demand from the operators of commercial communication satellites for defense of their multibillion-dollar assets. If there were to be active military operations in space, it could be difficult not to interfere with the functioning of civilian space systems.”

Just as important is the relationship between military and commercial uses of space. Certainly, there are some uses of space that are unique to the military—such as ITW&AA. This is an area where military needs and requirements cannot be met by commercial systems. That is, the military will be the sole user for systems such as DSP satellites, which monitor missile launches worldwide.

But virtually all other applications of space are “dual use.” To be sure, military needs and requirements must be recognized. For example, the military and intelligence agencies may have unique requirements for surveillance and reconnaissance that can be met only with their own dedicated satellites—either for reasons of security of data or technical requirements (e.g., resolution, processing time). A similar situation exists with regard to communications. For example, Milstar is a dedicated military satellite communications system that provides secure, jam-resistant, nuclear-hardened communications for all U.S. forces. But in general, the military should make greater use of commercial space satellites.

First, wherever possible, the Department of Defense should make use of commercial assets rather than spend needlessly on unique military assets. For example, the military should use existing communications satellites for its nonsecure communications capability. Former vice chief of staff of the Air Force General Moorman asserts that by making maximum use of civilian satellites, “military satellite communications will benefit in terms of access to additional capacity (tremendous increases in available bandwidth and flexibility, as well as multiplicity of alternative communications paths).” Also, the military can make use of commercial imaging satellites, such as Earth Watch’s EarlyBird 1, Space Imaging’s EOSAT (which will initially offer one-meter resolution, the highest resolution of any commercially available system), and Orbiting Image’s OrbView.

Second, wherever possible, the military should consider using distributed and redundant commercial satellite systems as a means to reduce vulnerability to attack rather than deploying unique military systems that are likely to be more expensive and take longer to deploy. For example, it may be more cost-effective to develop and deploy smaller satellites in a distributed system configuration designed to operate at low earth orbit and medium earth orbit than larger, heavier satellites operating in geosynchronous (stationary) orbit. That approach is especially meritorious if there is a potential shortage of heavy-lift launch capability.

Third, military requirements should not be imposed on shared nonmilitary satellites. For example, the military should not require hardening against electromagnetic pulse on commercial satellites that are also used by the military. To the extent that such requirements are absolute needs, the military should deploy its own dedicated systems to meet those requirements. Neither commercial satellite operators nor the other users of commercial satellites should shoulder any cost burdens imposed by the military (and clearly, the military must be more realistic about its requirements).

In short, in the future, the military will likely have greater reliance on commercial space systems. As General Moorman has stated:
On the one hand, commercialization is not a total panacea. . . . On the other hand, the commercial space industry is expanding at such a rate and with such marvelous capabilities that it seems reasonable if not inevitable that a number of missions—heretofore the exclusive province of the government—can be satisfied or augmented commercially. We can also realize significant efficiencies by taking advantage of commercial space.

However, even if commercial space is not a panacea for the military, it should be the driving force of space and shape space policy. In other words, defense and national security need to be one component of overall U.S. space policy, but certainly not the primary component. In the post–Cold War environment—with no immediate threat from another great power and none on the horizon (at least in the near- to mid-term)—the U.S. government must avoid establishing inflated and costly military requirements for space-based resources. U.S. space policy should strive to foster an environment that allows commercial space activity to grow and
flourish rather than create a new area for costly military competition.

Reference: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa427.pdf :)


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:25 am
Posts: 161
Location: DFW, Texas
Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:19 am
Efforts to ban space-based weaponry, by international treaty and American legislation, are directly harmful to space development. Practical, effective means of defending space-based assets can ensure the growth of infrastructure and enable the establishment of human settlements in space. Space advocates should join in opposing overbroad efforts to prevent space weaponization.
Shortly, U.S. Congressional Representative Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Cleveland, Ohio,) will re-introduce his "Space Preservation Act," calling on the President to work towards enacting a proposed international treaty to ban space-based weapons, the Space Preservation Treaty.

The act, previously introduced in 2002 (H.R. 3616) and 2001 (H.R. 2977), stands little chance of passage. Nonetheless, the measure should be opposed now, to disrupt the formation of any international consensus to enact a treaty over the opposition of the spacefaring powers.

Space-based assets are already essential to our networked civilization. GPS-dependent ranchers in Canada and sailors in the Atlantic, cell-phone users in Bangkok and Tel Aviv, field medics and polar explorers, all owe their livelihoods, if not their lives, to space infrastructure. Space lines of communication are as essential to 21st Century global commerce as sea lines of communication were in previous eras. Those lines must be defended.

Weapons-ban supporters say that the best defense is universal disarmament. All historical evidence, however, shows that the lack of legitimate defensive force breeds crime and piracy. Where the British navy patrolled the seas, or where heavily-armed Dutch East India Company merchantmen sailed, life and property were safe. Where superior defensive force was absent, as in the 18th Century Caribbean or the contemporary South China Sea, piracy has been a brutal reality.

Before long, the first sorts of space piracy will become practicable. The advantages to a terrorist or rogue state of blinding GPS ore wrecking communications are too great. Anti-satellite weaponry will proliferate. The use of these weapons will damage ordinary people in small nations every bit as much as it will impede American military operations. The common interest of civilization lies not in surrendering the space lines of communication to pirates, but in defending them, vigorously and effectively.

Beyond contemporary defense needs, future individuals and communities in space must have effective means of self-defense. By its terms, the proposed treaty ban would cover personal and police weapons, introducing the specter of violent predation by sociopaths or criminal gangs in future habitats.

As previously noted in this column (2.10, Saluting the Flag of Convenience, orbital habitats may be terribly vulnerable to external attack, from Terrestrial nations or from other locations in space. Habitats without the means of effective territorial defense will be hostages to the political demands of any power capable of fielding orbital weapons or troops.

The Kellog-Briand Pact, which outlawed war in 1928, failed to prevent Hitler's rearming and provoking the Second World War. Similarly, the Space Preservation Treaty will be little impediment to determined pirates or to a superpower's blackmailing an independence-threatening O'Neill colony. But those same powers, with law on their side and the tools of inspections and sanctions, could readily prevent colonists from defending themselves against such threats.

Multilateral weapons-ban treaties can be useful in certain limited circumstances. They will be obeyed if the technologies they ban are unreliable or obsolescent: this is why the chemical weapons ban has largely been observed.

They will be useful if the primary danger is to non-combatants, the weapon's military utility can be met by other means, and their supply can be interdicted - making the recent land mine treaty valuable and effective. Neither set of circumstances applies to space weaponry.

Most space weapon proposals involve using space-based means to influence Terrestrial battles, as a defense against ground-to-ground missile attacks, or the sort of space piracy described here. In none of these cases do the weapons systems meet the criteria for an effective treaty ban.

The only consequence of such a treaty would be to endanger lives and property in space. As many of the treaty activists are generally anti-space and anti-technology (Rep. Kucinich, though supportive of the NASA center in his district, is the Congressional leader of opposition to biotechnology), such an outcome is probably generally desired by treaty supporters.

Opposition to a treaty ban by no means mandates support for American ballistic missile defense initiatives, unilateralist foreign policies or the growing influence of the military-industrial complex. The wisdom and utility of Star Wars is open to debate. Each system, each policy, should be addressed on its own merits.

Neither complete acquiescence nor universal bans are realistic, rational or appropriate responses to the complexities of politics and technology. Citizenship requires us to think for ourselves and act responsibly for the preservation of our civilization - and for its expansion into space. A space weapons ban is an abdication of that responsibility.

Given this fairly obvious analysis, it is surprising that some of the strongest support for the treaty comes from the space movement's main advocates of traditional governmental structures for space. United Societies in Space, Inc. (USIS) is an organization advocating the establishment of a "space metanation" under UN auspices, with their organization serving as the foundation of such a government.

Their draft constitution calls for a space Department of Defense, implying at least some recognition that the definition of "government" involves a monopoly on legitimate violence, and that UN standards fro nationhood include effective military control of territory.

Yet one of the leaders of the treaty movement, Carol Rosin of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, is a member of the USIS Board of Directors, and co-author of an article in the current issue of the group's journal (Space Governance, v.7/8, 2001/2002, pp. 61 et seq.) advocating the treaty. The article, a blend of grammar-challenged New Age rhetoric:

"Because 2003 is when the human species will experience a collective consciousness awakening and shift, as they see the arms race ends before it escalates into space, and when the truth begins to be revealed about who we are in these bodies, on this planet and in the universe."

and legalese, provides a bridge between the model-UN bureaucrat-wannabee enthusiasm of USIS and true wackiness among advocates of the treaty.

Rosin calls for promotion of the treaty proposal by introducing "the Resolution to ban space-based weapons in your city." Given how few of us live in space-based cities, one would expect precious little activity in this area.

Undaunted, though, on the eve of 9/11 commemorations last year, the Berkeley, California City Council passed Resolution 61744 declaring "the outer space above the city to be a space-based weapons-free zone." The self-parody is so immaculate that any commentary would be painting the lily.

Favorable coverage of the Berkeley declaration appears right above news of President Bush having "turned the moon over to a private, for-profit corporation called TransOrbital that has a far-reaching frightening agenda for the corporate domination of space."

Other sites, advocate the treaty as a defense against X-Files style technological conspiracies and the sort of world government feared by militia movements everywhere. There is comfort in the discovery that some of our opponents are sillier than we are. Perhaps California's military-industrial towns could declare themselves space-based weapons enabling zones.

Despite the lunatic fringe of treaty supporters, the proposal is the outgrowth of substantial UN support for a space weapons ban. Two unanimous General Assembly resolutions (Resolution 55/32, November 20, 2000 and Resolution 56/535, November 29, 2001) have supported such a ban, as has Secretary General Kofi Annan in public statements.

The treaty proposal may become a popular cause in nations seeking a cheap means of demonstrating opposition to American military technological superiority, and by its terms will become binding even on non-signatories after being ratified by twenty nations.

The Space Preservation Treaty may well join the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty as significant efforts by Terrestrial politicians to stop the development of space-based industry, commerce and civilization.

The space movement faces obstacles enough without its own members backing efforts to cripple our progress. United and determined opposition now by the space community may make the road to space a little easier, and our presence there a little safer. The new owners of the Moon might join with us as well.

Reference: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-03d.html :)


Back to top
Profile
avatar
Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:55 am
geez i never this was gonna get that much response.


Back to top
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:06 am
Posts: 147
Post Re: Military Implications of the X-Prize   Posted on: Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:12 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
Neither of these solutions would be easy, and both would require radical rethinking of current defensive strategy.


Not easy, but not a "total" rethinking. See the ABL and THEL systems.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Rocket Constructor
Rocket Constructor
avatar
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:51 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Hertfordshire, England
Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 16, 2004 10:59 pm
What we've really got to look out for is battles raising up into space, like you see in star wars and the like. You may laugh, but it is true, its totally possible; people laughed when inventers mentioned things they could do like light bulbs and television, but look what happened, getting into space and cheaply is becoming a reality. :P

However there really is no way of stopping war spreading into space, terrorists wont give a damn what america and the UN say to try and stop them. And with the X-prize it will be totally within their price range to go into space and mess around with satellites holding the world and america together; we could become totally defenceless if our communications were taken out when someone starts sabotaging satellites. :!:

But watcha gonna do. :roll:

_________________
hello


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
avatar
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:56 am
Posts: 1104
Location: Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:43 am
JamPot! wrote:
<snip>


I'm certainly not laughing; I've thought much the same thing for quite a while. And what're we gonna do to stop it? Simple. Make space travel privatized. Make the individual ship captains own the craft, not the big companies. And yes, men and women *will* sell their souls to the company store to own their own ship -- I'd do it without batting an eye. The crew will protect the one and only thing they own.

Also, along with space pirates, you'll have space privateers: those who fly heavily armed and armored craft (which usually look neither), and hunt down and attack/capture/destroy pirate vessels. Privateering is a perfectly honorable business, and is by definition sponsored by a pirate-beleaguered country. ::points:: My dream job.

Finally, asteroid miners -- those most at risk to pirates -- will be perfectly capable of protecting themselves, both in melée and in ship-to-ship combat. Otherwise, they'll be dead.

And as to nation-to-nation battles going into space, well, you're not going to stop that. So we might as well make a decent profit from all the smuggling runs thus created. 8)

_________________
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering

In Memoriam...
Apollo I - Soyuz I - Soyuz XI - STS-51L - STS-107


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:52 am
spacecowboy wrote:
<stuff>


indeed. that would be a good job. personally i think i could go for commander of a <private> construction yard in the asteroid belt, supported by its own miners. realistically, i think we're talking a good 100-200 years before more than a very few people own their own ships. company ships...... 20 maybe?

_________________
Cornell 2010- Applied and Engineering Physics

Software Developer

Also, check out my fractals


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
avatar
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:56 am
Posts: 1104
Location: Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:00 am
TerraMrs wrote:
spacecowboy wrote:
<stuff>


indeed. that would be a good job. personally i think i could go for commander of a <private> construction yard in the asteroid belt, supported by its own miners. realistically, i think we're talking a good 100-200 years before more than a very few people own their own ships. company ships...... 20 maybe?


Depends on how events fall... If we get into space (self-sustaining lunar colony) and the *** promptly hits the fan, then maybe as few as 30 years before we get space privateers and smugglers. If stuff gets in our way before or after then, a century or more. 'Roid mining is gonna be fun though.

_________________
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering

In Memoriam...
Apollo I - Soyuz I - Soyuz XI - STS-51L - STS-107


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 17, 2004 5:32 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Depends on how events fall... If we get into space (self-sustaining lunar colony) and the poo promptly hits the fan, then maybe as few as 30 years before we get space privateers and smugglers. If stuff gets in our way before or after then, a century or more. 'Roid mining is gonna be fun though.


yea, i agree. the thing is the self sustaining lunar colony is likely at least 50 away, minimum (private that is). lunar colony, maybe 30, but not self sustaining. the thing with a lunar colony is that it's far easier to defend than something in space itself because you have ground to put things on and stabilize them, puls having resources there. we won't have to worry about pirates until we have either a) shipping lanes or b) small stations than can be raided without the assurance of destruction. a pirate could waste a lunar colony but there would be nothing left to take so it'd be pointless. also, the actual technology needed to do said attack exists on earth, but i think we're talking a good while before we can really have non-robotic combat vessels.

_________________
Cornell 2010- Applied and Engineering Physics

Software Developer

Also, check out my fractals


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:15 am
Posts: 79
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 18, 2004 10:44 pm
I can't believe you're discussing the viability of space pirates and privateers.

I love this forum, where else can you go from discussion of orbital mechanics and rocket propellants to pirates in two clicks.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use