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Can Space Tourism Co-exist with Space being turned into a War Zone?

Can Space Tourism Co-exist with Space being turned into a War Zone?, By Karl Grossman, Space 4 Peace, Presented at the Space Tourism: Legal Dimensions Conference, 29 January 2022

The push to turn space into a war zone could spell goodbye to space tourism. The space tourism drive that is underway, led by billionaires Jeff Bezos with his Blue Origin company, Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk and his SpaceX operation, is seen as only a start. As Dylan Taylor wrote in 2021 on www.space.com in an article headed “The Future of space tourism,” it’s a “a growing market expected to be worth at least $3 billion by 2030.” Space.com identified Taylor as an “entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist” and “cofounding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.” https://www.space.com/future-of-space-tourism-op-ed……………………………

Meanwhile, there’s the push, led by the United States, to turn space into a war zone—and this, despite the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that sets space aside for peaceful purposes.

As then U.S. President Donald Trump declared in 2018 as he advocated for formation of a U.S. Space Force, “it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”  https://www.space.com/40921-trump-space-traffic-policy-american-leadership.html

The following year, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 establishing the Space Force as the sixth branch of U.S. armed forces and said: “Space is the world’s newest warfighting domain.” The Space Force, Trump said, would “help” the U.S. “control the ultimate high ground.” https://www.space.com/trump-creates-space-force-2020-defense-bill.html

Then, at the unveiling of a Space Force flag at the White House, Trump said: “Space is going to be…the future, both in terms of defense and offense.” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-unveils-space-force-flag-ceremony-says-space-future-n1208021

Trump’s successor, U.S. President Joe Biden, has not rolled back the U.S. Space Force………………….

As to the impacts of war in space, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, in an interview in 2021 related the projection of the late Edgar Mitchell, in 1971 the sixth U.S. astronaut to walk on the moon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow8c7LbPvuI&feature=youtu.be

Gagnon said:

In 1989 during one of our campaigns against NASA plutonium launches [NASA’s launching of plutonium-powered space probes], we had a rally at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and our keynote speaker that day was Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, one of the moonwalkers. And he came and said if there is one war in space, it’ll be the one and the only. He said because we will create so much space debris or space junk from all the destroyed satellites and things like that in space that there would literally be a minefield encircling the planet – he called it a piranha-laced river—and we would not be able to get through. A rocket would not be able to get off this Earth through that minefield. So, it’s insane to think about having a war in space.

Gagnon has also spoken of how space warfare would “mean activity on Earth below would immediately shut down—cell phones, ATM machines, cable TV, traffic lights, weather prediction and more—all hooked up to satellites, would be lost. Modern society would go dark.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/18/the-very-bad-space-force-deal/

Also pointing to the generation of space debris resulting from warfare in space was Alexander Chanock in section titled “Problems With Weaponizing Space” in an article published in 2013 in Journal of Air Law and Commerce titled “The Problems and Potential Solutions Related to the Emergence of Space Weapons in the 2lst Century.” https://scholar.smu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1327&context=jalc

Chanock, then a candidate for a law degree, now a legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote that a major problem “is the amount of space debris that space weapons would produce….The fear is that destroying in space could generate extremely dangerous debris with a long orbital life.”

Chanock quoted Dr. Joel Primack, professor of physics and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and “one of the premier experts on space debris, noted Chanock, as saying “the weaponization of space would make the debris problem much worse, and even one war in space could encase the entire planet in a shell of whizzing debris that would thereafter make space near the Earth highly hazardous for peaceful as well as military purposes.”……………………

U.S. interest in war in space has deep roots: back to the former Nazi rocket scientists and engineers brought to the U.S. from Germany after World War II under the U.S.’s Operation Paperclip. They ended up at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama—to use “their technological expertise to help create the U.S. space and weapons program,” wrote Jack Manno, a professor of environmental studies at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science & Forestry, in his 1984 book Arming the Heavens: The Hidden Military Agenda for Space, 1945-1995https://www.abebooks.com/9780396082118/Arming-heavens-hidden-military-agenda-0396082114/plp

“Many of the early space war schemes were dreamt up by scientists working for the German military, scientists who brought their rockets and their ideas to America after the war,” he wrote. Many of these scientists and engineers “later rose to positions of power in the U.S. military, NASA, and the aerospace industry.” Among them were “Wernher von Braun and his V-2 colleagues” who began “working on rockets for the U.S. Army,” and at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal “were given the task of producing an intermediate range ballistic range missile to carry battlefield atomic weapons up to 200 miles. The Germans produced a modified V-2 renamed the Redstone….Huntsville became a major center of U.S. space military activities.”

Manno told the story of former German Major General Walter Dornberger, who had been in charge of the entire Nazi rocket program, and how he “in 1947 as a consultant to the U.S Air Force and adviser to the Department of Defense…wrote a planning paper for his new employers. He proposed a system of hundreds of nuclear-armed satellites all orbiting at different altitudes and angles, each capable or reentering the atmosphere on command from Earth to proceed to its target. The Air Force began early work on Dornberger’s idea under the acronym NABS (Nuclear Armed Bombardment Satellites).”……………………………………..

This is pessimistic forecast need not be. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 was—and is—a visionary documentary. “Let Us Beat Our Swords Into Plowshares” is the title of a statue by Evgeniy Vutetich in the sculpture garden of the UN in New York. It is based on the Book of Isaiah and its call that nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

War on Earth is terrible enough. It must not be brought up to the heavens.

This will take continued take political will and international pressure—to preserve and extend the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and its setting aside space for peaceful purposes. Especially in the United States, this will require action at the grassroots because the two major political parties in the U.S. have joined in a bellicose stance on space, supporting it becoming a war zone. Every year, the grassroots organization Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, founded in Washington, D.C. in 1991 and the leading group internationally challenging the weaponization of space, holds a “Keep Space For Peace Week” with actions around the world. Meanwhile, there are nations around the globe that have, unlike the U.S., adopted a peaceful stance—as reflected in their support for the proposed PAROS treaty.

We must, indeed, keep space for peace.

Can space tourism co-exist with space being turned into a war zone? The answer is no.

And with a shooting war in space, it will not only space tourism that would be kissed goodbye. http://space4peace.org/can-space-tourism-co-exist-with-space-being-turned-into-a-war-zone/

February 7, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology, weapons and war

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