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War fears soar as NASA claims it needs nuclear rockets to rival China in space

War fears soar as NASA claims it needs nuclear rockets to rival China in space

NASA has prompted fears of a conflict after pleading with the US Government to invest in nuclear-powered spacecraft to speed ahead of rivals in the space race., Express UK, By JACOB PAUL, Oct 23, 2021  

 The agency’s officials were testifying at a House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee hearing on Wednesday – and called for new weapons to help the US reach Mars before powers such as Russia and ChinaNASA called on US lawmakers to invest more resources into researching and developing nuclear-powered rockets. They said this would which help humans reach the planet in just three to four months……….
NASA are now scrambling for the US to boost their space defences as China appears to advancing its space technology at a rapid pace……….

while the NASA are hoping to ramp up their space defence systems as they prepare to fend off China in the space race, the move would also come at high risk.

A spokesperson for Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament told “The idea of using nuclear-power in space is not new and has long been suggested as a way of getting to Mars quickly.

“But the launch into space of a nuclear reactor also risks a catastrophic spread of radioactive material if, for example, the launch vehicle were to malfunction and explode – which would be quite possible if an over competitive rush to space were to occur.

“Nuclear power has also been suggested for other applications, such as powering space weapons and military bases on the Moon and Mars. So, there really needs to be international consideration of the possible applications of nuclear power in space and their desirability. Some of the risks may well outweigh any possible advantages.”

October 23, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Keep space for peace – opposition to New Zealand’s space industry and its military connections

NZ’s $1.7 billion space industry rockets away, but a law review sparks more debate about controversial military payloads, Stuff Amanda Cropp, Oct 17 2021
  ”………………..   how far and how fast the New Zealand space industry has come since Rocket Lab’s first test launch blasted off in 2017 from its Māhia Peninsula launch site, with millions being invested by the Government and the private sector.A review of the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act that regulates launches and payloads received only 17 responses last month, but consultation on the “peaceful, sustainable and responsible” use of space, delayed until next year because of Covid-19, is likely to get a much more heated reception.

Peace groupsthe Green Party and members of the Māhia community have already been vocal about their opposition to Rocket Lab’s military work in the wake of the controversial Gunsmoke-J satellite it launched for the United States Army Space and Missile Defence Co………….

…… The Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act outlaws payloads that contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities, harm, interfere with or destroy other spacecraft or systems on earth; support or enable specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to government policy, or are likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment…………….

Space for Peace

In March, 17 peace groups wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the Gunsmoke-J launch appeared to breach both the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act and the Cabinet-approved to payload assessments.

They argued that because US military strategy was increasingly using satellite systems to control and direct nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, weapons, it was extremely difficult to determine whether any given satellite was contributing to supporting this weapons system.

……… In mid-September the Anti-Bases Campaign had about 100 attendees at a Keep Space for Peace webinar, and organiser Murray Horton says they were primarily concerned Rocket Lab’s Auckland and Māhia operations effectively constituted a US base in New Zealand, albeit a privately owned one.

Sonya Smith of the Māhia’s Rocket Lab Monitoring Group says they want future regulations to include a clause outlawing payloads that will “assist in the operation of a weapon”.

Professor Kevin Clements is a member of the Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, which was a signatory to the letter to the prime minister, and he does not believe MBIE is the appropriate agency to vet payloads.

“They have a vested interest in seeing [space] is a thriving industry bringing dollars into the New Zealand economy. This needs to be handled by the prime minister’s department.”……..

October 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, space travel | Leave a comment

Prince William: Saving Earth should come before space tourism

William told Newscast’s Adam Fleming he had “absolutely no interest” in going as high as space, adding there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.

Prince William: Saving Earth should come before space tourism 

By George Bowden, 15 Oct 21,
s   Prince William has suggested entrepreneurs should focus on saving Earth rather than engaging in space tourism.

The Duke of Cambridge said great brains and minds should be “trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live”.

He also warned about a rise in “climate anxiety” among younger generations.

William spoke to the BBC’s Newscast ahead of the first Earthshot Prize to reward those trying to save the planet.

The prize’s name is a reference to the “moonshot” ambition of 1960s America, which saw then-President John F Kennedy pledge to get a man on the moon within a decade.

Speaking about the current space race and the drive to promote space tourism, William said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”I think that ultimately is what sold it for me – that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future.”

On Wednesday, Hollywood actor William Shatner became the oldest person to go to space as he blasted off aboard the Blue Origin sub-orbital capsule developed by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk are also building up space businesses.

He warned there was “a rise in climate anxiety” among young people who whose “futures are basically threatened the whole time”.

“It’s very unnerving and it’s very, you know, anxiety making,” he said.

The father-of-three challenged adults to channel their inner child to “remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we’re robbing those future generations of”.

William also said his father, Prince Charles, had a “rough ride” when warning about climate change, adding: “It’s been a hard road for him.”

He said Charles, inspired by his father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, “talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic”.

The duke added that “it would be an absolute disaster if [Prince] George is sat here talking” about saving the planet in 30 year’s time.

Five winners of the Earthshot Prize, each receiving £1m, will be announced in a ceremony later this month.
William told Newscast’s Adam Fleming he had “absolutely no interest” in going as high as space, adding there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.

October 16, 2021 Posted by | space travel, UK | 1 Comment

The “No Militarization of Space Act” has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.

No Militarization of Space Act, CounterPunch BY KARL GROSSMAN, 6 Oct 21,

Finally, there’s some good news about the U.S. push to turn space into a war zone. The “No Militarization of Space Act” has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. It would abolish the new U.S. Space Force.

It is being sponsored by five members of the House of Representatives led by Representative Jared Huffman. In a statement announcing the September 22nd introduction of the measure, Huffman called the U.S. Space Force “costly and unnecessary.”

The arms and aerospace industries, which have a central role in U.S. space military activities, will no doubt be super-active in coming weeks working to stop movement of the legislation.

Representative Huffman, with a background as a consumer attorney specializing in public interest cases, was elected in 2012 to represent the 2nd Congressional District in California which covers the state’s North Coast up to the Oregon border. He resides in San Rafael.

In his statement announcing the introduction of the bill, Huffman said the “long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel. But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.” And, he continued: “It’s time we turn our attention back to where it belongs: addressing urgent domestic and international priorities like battling COVID-19, climate change, and growing economic inequality. Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space.”

Co-sponsors of the “No Militarization of Space Act” are Representatives Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Maxine Waters of California; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; and Jesus Garcia of Illinois. All are Democrats.

Alice Slater, a board member of the organization World BEYOND War, commented that Trump, “in his besotted hunkering for hegemonic glory,” established the Space Force as “a brand new branch of the already gargantuan military juggernaut….Sadly, the new U.S. President Biden has done nothing to ratchet down the warmongering. Fortunately, help is on the way with a group of five sane members of Congress.”

But not only has Joe Biden stuck with the U.S. Space Force, but most Democrats in both the House of Representatives and Senate voted for its creation as championed by Trump. All Republicans in Congress voted for it…………….

October 7, 2021 Posted by | politics, space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable

U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable, Space News, by Sandra Erwin — September 17, 2021 A ship in the Pacific Ocean carrying a high-power laser takes aim at a U.S. spy satellite, blinding its sensors and denying the United States critical eyes in the sky.

This is one scenario that military officials and civilian leaders fear could lead to escalation and wider conflict as rival nations like China and Russia step up development and deployments of anti-satellite weapons.

If a satellite came under attack, depending on the circumstances, “the appropriate measures can be taken,” said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.

The space battlefield is not science fiction and anti-satellite weapons are going to be a reality in future armed conflicts, Shaw said at the recent 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Space Command is responsible for military operations in the space domain, which starts at the Kármán line, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This puts Space Command in charge of protecting U.S. satellites from attacks and figuring out how to respond if hostile acts do occur…………

A key reason why the space race is accelerating is that technology is advancing so rapidly, Smith said. A second reason is the absence of “binding commitments on what the operating norms are going to be in space,” she said. “And without that, we’re very likely to have a space war.”

The only foundation of international space law that currently exists, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, is outdated and doesn’t address most space security issues that could set off a war, Smith noted.

The treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies and contains legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. But a new set of rules is needed for the current space age, Smith said. “We really haven’t addressed some of the very difficult questions. Can a nation tailgate another nation’s satellite? Is preemptive self defense going to be permissible? Are we going to ban any form of weapons in space?”…….

September 18, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA developing space-based electromagnetic warfare

This is just the beginning.

How DOD is taking its Mission to Space SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 | WALTER PINCUS  Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist at The Cipher Brief.  Pincus spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  He is the author of Blown to Hell: America’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders (releasing November 2021)

While others this past weekend have been looking back to 9/11, U.S. Space Command is looking forward to the next domain of warfare — in the heavens — to be directed from a Space Electromagnetic Operating Base somewhere in the United States.

Space Command’s Systems Command, Enterprise Corps and Special Programs Directorate, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., are looking for potential contractors to run an ambitious, five-year program that will, by 2027, design, develop, deliver and operate a Space Electromagnetic Warfare facility whose primary purpose would be to jam or destroy enemy satellite and land-based communications in time of war.

It all was described in a request for information published September 1, for possible contractors to provide their potential capabilities and interest in taking on the job.

The U.S. may not have done well here on earth against the Taliban in Afghanistan, but Space Command is moving to stay ahead of its big-power competitors in using the electromagnetic spectrum for use as a weapon against potential adversary satellites in space.

As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently described it, “The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of wavelengths or frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. It includes radio waves, microwaves, visible light, X-rays, and gamma rays.”

The majority of military communications capabilities use radio waves and microwaves. Infrared and ultraviolet spectrums can disseminate large volumes of data, including video, over long distances – for example, intelligence collection and distribution. The military can also use lasers offensively, to dazzle satellite sensors, destroy drones, and for other purposes, according to the CRS.

Electronic warfare is not new – it was extensively used in World War II and its uses have been growing ever since.

CRS described it this way: “Missiles in general, and anti-air munitions in particular, use either infrared or radar for terminal guidance (i.e., guiding a missile once it has been launched) to targets. Electronic jammers are used to deny an adversary access to the spectrum. These jammers are primarily used in the radio and microwave frequencies (and sometimes paired together), preventing communications (both terrestrially and space-based) as well as radar coverage. Militaries have also begun using lasers to disable intelligence collection sensors, destroy small unmanned aerial systems (aka ‘drones’), and communicate with satellites.”

Back in 1977, I covered a House hearing when Dr. George Ullrich, then-Deputy Director of Defense Special Weapons Agency, described resumption of atmospheric nuclear testing in 1962 following a three-year testing moratorium. One test, called Starfish Prime, was a 1.4 megaton, high-altitude detonation. It took place over Johnston Island in the South Pacific at an altitude of about 250 miles – the largest nuclear test ever conducted in outer space.

Ullrich testified that the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) effects of the Starfish explosion surprisingly knocked out the telephone service and street lights on Hawaiian Islands, which were 800 miles east of the detonation. Years later, Ullrich wrote that another surprise outcome had been that months after the 1962 detonation, an AT&T satellite transmitting television signals from space died prematurely followed by the early failure of other satellites.

Ullrich closed on a note more relevant to today. “High-altitude EMP does not distinguish between military and civilian systems. Unhardened infrastructure systems, such as commercial power grids, telecommunication networks, as we have discussed before, remain vulnerable to widespread outages and upsets due to high-altitude EMP. While DOD (Defense Department) hardens their assets it deems vital, no comparable civilian programs exist. Thus, the detonation of one or a few high-altitude nuclear weapons could result in serious problems for the entire U.S. civil and commercial infrastructure.”

There are also non-nuclear, EMP weapons that produce pulses of energy that create a powerful electromagnetic field capable of short-circuiting a wide range of electronic equipment, particularly computers, satellites, radios, radar receivers and even civilian traffic lights.

Key to the proposed Space Electromagnetic Operating Base is L3Harris’ next generation CCS (Counter Communications System) electronic warfare system known as Meadowlands, that can reversibly deny adversaries’ satellite communications. In March 2020, Space Force declared initial operational capability of Meadowlands as “the first offensive weapon system in the United States Space Force.” Currently a road-mobile system, an additional $30 million was added to the program in this fiscal year (2021) to “design forward garrison systems…Accelerate development of new mission techniques to meet advancing threat and integrate techniques into the CCS program of record.”

Defense Daily reported last month that in May, Space Force put out a bid for production of an additional 26 Meadowlands systems with production to go on through fiscal 2025.

The first task listed for the proposed, new Space Electromagnetic Operating Base is to provide a “Space EW (Electromagnetic Warfare) Common Operating Picture” that displays relevant space electromagnetic warfare information via the remote modular terminals (RMTs) of the Meadowland program. Another task will be mission planning to include providing “executable tactical instructions, planning weapon-target pairings, & enabling automated control of multiple SEW assets by a single operator.”

The proposal called for the Space EW common picture to depict the current adversary’s Space Order of Battle (SOB), the current state of space electromagnetic warfare tasking, and real-time status of operations.  The information displayed will come from “real time intelligence, C2, and operational units.  The information from intelligence will include SOB and Battle Damage Assessment (BDA). Command and control (C2) will provide its information to SEWOL [Space Electromagnetic Warfare Operating Location] via secure communications. Operational units will provide systems status, electromagnetic support (ES) reporting, Electromagnetic Attack (EA) strike assessment, and remote assets situational awareness (SA).”

The eventual contractor “will integrate the Meadowlands and RMT Remote Operations capability into the facility’s eventual architecture,” according to the proposal. The architecture of the proposed space warfare operating base “will be scalable and flexible to allow incorporation of future SEW [space electromagnetic warfare] systems. Future SEW systems could have substantially different interfaces from the RMT and Meadowlands systems without a baseline interface, and the development of the COI [common operating interface] will help streamline integration of future systems,” according to the proposal.

While Space Command is focused on an initial location in the continental U.S., the proposal said, “It will then expand to include multiple geographically dispersed operating locations…[which] will be able to control a scalable number of assets. In addition, they can be used interchangeably and/or collaboratively to provide high resiliency and operational flexibility.”

Three weeks ago, on August 24, Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, declared the nation’s 11th combatant command achieved initial operational capability (IOC). “We are a very different command today at IOC then we were at stand-up in 2019 — having matured and grown into a war fighting force, prepared to address threats from competition to conflict in space, while also protecting and defending our interests in this vast and complex domain.”

to conflict in space, while also protecting and defending our interests in this vast and complex domain.”

This is just the beginning.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Reference, space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pentagon calls on corporations for nuclear-powered propulsion for its satellites

General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin are the prime contractors on that effort

Pentagon taps industry for nuclear-powered propulsion for its satellitesBy Nathan Strout  WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is looking to industry for nuclear-powered propulsion technology to drive its spacecraft, freeing them from the low-energy limitations of current electric and solar-based propulsion systems.

…….  DIU’s government customers are looking for lightweight, long-lasting commercial nuclear power solutions that can provide greater propulsion and electric power for small and medium-sized spacecraft. Interested companies that can show a plan for prototype development within three to five years could be awarded other transaction authority contracts to support laboratory-based prototyping of such systems, followed by a path to flight-based testing.

This isn’t the military’s first time dipping its toe into developing nuclear-powered spacecraft. Most recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued contracts to three companies in April to design a nuclear thermal propulsion system for space. The program, known as the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, seeks to build nuclear thermal propulsion that can enable rapid maneuver in space, particularly for cislunar operations.

General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin are the prime contractors on that effort……….

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Canada, space travel | Leave a comment

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) reaffirmed commitment to preventing an arms race in space.

BRICS countries reaffirm commitment to preventing arms race in space,“We stand together for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and enhancing safety of space operations through implementation and development of the relevant UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space guidelines,” the leaders noted in the New Delhi Declaration,

NEW DELHI, September 9. /TASS/. BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) reaffirmed commitment to preventing an arms race in space in the New Delhi Declaration adopted at the 13th BRICS summit on Thursday.

“We confirm the commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, and the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, we note the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects,” the document reads.

“We stand together for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and enhancing safety of space operations through implementation and development of the relevant UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) guidelines,” the leaders pointed out.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

Study: Mars Missions Should Be Limited to 4 Years to Protect from Radiation

Study: Mars Missions Should Be Limited to 4 Years to Protect from Radiation, VOA Learning English, 5 Sep 21,  A new study has found that future missions to Mars should be limited to four years to protect astronauts from harmful radiation.

The study also says that missions should be carried out during specific times to reduce the level of exposure to dangerous particles.

The U.S. space agency NASA currently has plans to send astronauts back to the moon. It also plans to one day send astronauts to Mars. Those plans include missions that would keep astronauts in space for long periods.

China has also announced plans to send astronauts to Mars by 2033. Such missions present great risks to humans because of the high level of radiation in space.

Radiation exposure can cause a series of health issues, including skin burns, heart problems and cancer. NASA has spent many years studying ways to protect human space travelers from radiation.

On Earth, we also experience exposure to radiation from the sun. But our planet’s magnetic field protects us from dangerously high levels.

Two main kinds of radiation can affect humans and equipment in space. One is produced by particles released from the sun. The other comes from high energy particles created by cosmic rays from outside our solar system. NASA says the second kind can be more dangerous to humans and more destructive to equipment.

In the new study, researchers used modeling methods to predict levels of radiation exposure during future space missions. They combined geophysical models of particle radiation with models for how radiation would affect human passengers and spacecraft…………………….

September 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

Cosmic radiation will probably prevent growing crops on Mars

Greenhouses Probably Won’t Work for Growing Crops on Mars Because of Cosmic Radiation

By ANDY TOMASWICK, UNIVERSE TODAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2021  MARS is a lifeless wasteland for more than one reason. Not only are the temperatures and lack of water difficult for life to deal with, the lack of a magnetic field means radiation constantly pummels the surface. If humans ever plan to spend prolonged periods of time on the red planet, they’ll need to support an additional type of life – crops. However, it appears that even greenhouses on the surface won’t do enough to protect their plants from the deadly radiation of the Martian surface, at least according to a new paper published by researchers at Wageningen University and the Delft University of Technology.

Ideally, agriculture on the Maritan surface would consist of greenhouse domes and allow what limited sunlight hits the planet to make it through to the crops they house directly. However, current technology greenhouse glass is incapable of blocking the deadly gamma radiation that constantly irradiates Mars. Those gamma radiation levels, which are about 17 times higher on Mars than on Earth, are enough to affect crops grown in greenhouses on the surface significantly.

The researchers ran an experiment where they planted garden cress and rye and measured the crop output of a group irradiated with Martian levels of gamma radiation with those grown in a “normal” environment with only Earth-level radiation. The crops in the irradiated group ended up as dwarves, with brown leaves, and resulted in a significantly decreased harvest after 28 days of growth.

To mimic the gamma radiation environment, Nyncke Tack, an undergraduate researcher who performed much of the work for the project, used 5 separate cobalt-60 radiation sources. These were scattered evenly overhead of the test crops to create a “radiation plane” similar to the ever-present radiation field on Mars.

Other confounding factors, including adding beta and alpha radiation, could also contribute to crop deterioration, though solid objects more easily stop those types of radiation. The research team, who was not surprised by their findings, suggests building underground farms where the planet’s regolith blocks most if not all of that radiation. This would have the obvious disadvantage of losing access to sunlight, but would have the added benefit of being a much more controllable environment, with LEDs and temperature control filling in for environmental conditions on the surface.

To prove their theory, the team is next commandeering a Cold War-era bunker in the Netherlands to see if their same irradiation experiments affect crops grown inside if the irradiation is coming from outside. While not a direct analog for Martian regolith, it’s a novel approach to understanding how humans might eventually farm the sky.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, space travel | Leave a comment

Radiation could restrict crewed Mars missions to less than four years

Radiation could restrict crewed Mars missions to less than four years, New Atlas By David Szondy, September 04, 2021  An international team of scientists has calculated that a crewed mission to Mars should only last a maximum of four years if the astronauts’ health isn’t to be endangered by prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation.Planning a crewed mission to Mars would be one of the most daunting challenges of any exploration attempt ever made by humanity. Every aspect of such a multi-year adventure would have complex impacts on every other factor, producing a constant tug of war as scientists and engineers seek compromises to fulfill mission requirements.

As well as things like engine type, crew numbers, diet, and a thousand other things, planning also needs to take into account the ever-present hazard of radiation. Once outside of the protective envelope of the Earth’s atmosphere and its magnetic field, the astronauts would be at the mercy of cosmic rays from the Sun and the larger galaxy, so the question is, how to minimize such a threat?………………….

 a mission that lasted longer than four years would expose the crew to dangerous levels of radiation before returning to Earth, which puts an upper limit on mission time.

One reason for this limit is the nature of the radiation hazard. The worst danger would be from GCRs because they are so energetic that when the researchers used models of human organs and set them behind different shields, the shielding material itself becomes a problem.

There are many different ways to shield an astronaut, including heavy metal plates, tanks of water, or slabs of low-density polymers. The problem is that a shield heavy enough to provide direct protection not only causes weight issues for the spacecraft, the shield can also give off secondary radiation as the cosmic rays split the atoms in the shield…………

September 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

Weaponising space -the high road to World War 3, but profitable for weapon and space companies

Insane U.S. Plan to Spend Billions on Weaponizing Space Makes Defense Contractors Jump for Joy—But Rest of World Cowers in Horror at Prospect of New Arms Race Leading to World War IIICovertAction Magazine  By Karl Grossman – August 25, 2021 Imagine this scenario from the year 2045: The U.S. and China, after years of belligerence, go to war over control of the Taiwan straits; most of the battles are fought through cyber-attacks and space-based weapons systems that had been perfected over the previous decades.

In a desperate maneuver, the U.S. activates its “rods from God”—a scheme developed in Project Thor involving telephone-pole-sized tungsten rods being dropped from orbit reaching a speed ten times the speed of sound [7,500 miles per hour] hitting with the force of nuclear weapons—and Beijing’s military command centers and other significant targets are destroyed.

The above scenario looks increasingly plausible given a) the growing prospect of war between the U.S. and China; and b) the growing militarization of space by the U.S.—in violation of the landmark Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that sets aside space “for peaceful purposes.”

U.S. Space Force and the Evisceration of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty

Donald Trump declared at a meeting of the National Space Council of the U.S. in 2018 that “it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space…. I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces … It is going to be something.”

Indeed, the U.S. Space Force, established in December 2019, is something—and can, if not will, destroy the visionary Outer Space Treaty of keeping space for peace.

The Outer Space Treaty
 of 1967 was put together by the U.S., Great Britain and the former Soviet Union and has wide support from nations around the world. 111 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 23 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification.

As Craig Eisendrath, who as a young U.S. State Department officer was involved in the treaty’s creation, told me—and I quote him in my book Weapons in Space—“we sought to de-weaponize space before it got weaponized … to keep war out of space.”

This foundational treaty has allowed for half a century of ever expanding peaceful activity in space, free from man-made threats,” writes Paul Meyer, in his chapter “Arms Control in Outer Space: A Diplomatic Alternative to Star Wars” in the book Security in the Global Commons and Beyond.[1]

The Outer Space Treaty bars placement “in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction or from installing such weapons on celestial bodies.”

Biden Signs Off on Space Force

Republican Trump’s successor as U.S. president, Democrat Joe Biden, has not pulled back on the U.S. Space Force. As Defense News headlined in 2021: “With Biden’s ‘full support,’ the Space Force is officially here to stay.”

Its article opened: “U.S. President Joe Biden will not seek to eliminate the Space Force and roll military space functions back into the Air Force, the White House confirmed.” It continued: “White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during a Feb. 3 briefing that the new service has the ‘full support’ of the Biden administration.” And it went on: “‘We’re not revisiting the decision,’ she said.”

Most Democrats in the U.S. Congress voted for the legislation providing for formation of the U.S. Space Force as pushed by Trump. All Republicans in the U.S. Congress voted for it.

False Pretext

For decades there has been an effort to extend the Outer Space Treaty and enact the Prevention of an Arms Race, the PAROS treaty, which would bar any weapons in space.

China, Russia (and U.S. neighbor Canada) have been leaders in seeking passage of the PAROS treaty. But the U.S.—through administration after administration, Republican and Democrat—has opposed the PAROS treaty and effectively vetoed it at the United Nations.

Although the PAROS treaty has broad backing from nations around the world, it must move through the UN’s Conference on Disarmament which functions on a consensual basis.

A rationale for the U.S. Space Force now being claimed is that it is necessary to counter moves by China and Russia in space, particularly development of anti-satellite weapons.

That is what a CNN report in August 2021, titled “An Exclusive Look into How Space Force Is Defending America,” centrally asserted. There was no mention in the six-minute-plus CNN piece of how China and Russia (and Canada) have led for decades in the push for PAROS, and how China and Russia in recent times have reiterated their calls for space to be weapons-free.

We are calling on the international community to start negotiations and reach agreement on arms control in order to ensure space safety as soon as possible,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, in April 2021. “China has always been in favor of preventing an arms race in space; it has been actively promoting negotiations on a legally binding agreement on space arms control jointly with Russia.”

A day earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for talks to create an “international legally binding instrument” to ban the deployment of “any types of weapons” in space.  Lavrov said: “We consistently believe that only a guaranteed prevention of an arms race in space will make it possible to use it for creative purposes, for the benefit of the entire mankind. We call for negotiations on the development of an international legally binding instrument that would prohibit the deployment of any types of weapons there, as well as the use of force or the threat of force.

Onward and Upward!

Meanwhile, the U.S. Space Force drives ahead.

It has requested a budget of $17.4 billion for 2020 to “grow the service,” reports Air Force Magazine. “Space Force 2022 Budget Adds Satellites, Warfighting Center, More Guardians,” was the headline of its article. And in the first paragraph, it adds “and fund more than $800 million in new classified programs.” (“Guardians” is the name adopted by the U.S. Space Force in 2021 for its members.)

A recruitment drive is under way.

The U.S. Space Force “received its first offensive weapon … satellite jammers,” reported American Military News in 2020. “The weapon does not destroy enemy satellites, but can be used to interrupt enemy satellite communications and hinder enemy early warning systems meant to detect a U.S. attack,” it stated…………

“US Space Command—dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict,” trumpeted Vision for 2020……….

I displayed the comments of U.S. Space Command Commander-in-Chief Joseph W. Ashy in Aviation Week and Space Technology in 1996: “It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen,” said the general.

Some people don’t want to hear this … but—absolutely—we’re going to fight in space. We’re going to fight from space and we’re going to fight into space…. We will engage terrestrial targets someday—ships, airplanes, land targets—from space.”  U.S. Space Command Commander-in-Chief General Joseph W. Ashy……………


August 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, space travel, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Star Wars and America’s Nazis

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 of re-entering 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).”

Insane U.S. Plan to Spend Billions on Weaponizing Space Makes Defense Contractors Jump for Joy—But Rest of World Cowers in Horror at Prospect of New Arms Race Leading to World War III CovertAction Magazine  By Karl Grossman – August 25, 2021  ” ……………………………………..Star Wars and America’s Nazis

U.S. interest in militarizing and weaponizing space goes back well before the Vision for 2020 and other bellicose U.S. plans for space in the 1990s, or Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative dubbed “Star Wars,” in the 1980s. Its roots are with 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, where more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers and technicians were taken from former Nazi Germany to the U.S. for government employment after the end of World War II in Europe, between 1945 and 1959.

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,” writes Jack Manno, a State University of New York professor, in his 1984 book Arming the Heavens: The Hidden Military Agenda for Space, 1945-1995 (1984).

“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 writes. 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 Redstone Arsenal, “were given the task of producing an intermediate range ballistic 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 tells 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 of re-entering 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).”

In my subsequent Weapons in Space, Manno tells me that “control over the Earth” was what those who have wanted to weaponize space seek. He said the Nazi scientists are an important “historical and technical link, and also an ideological link…. The aim is to … have the capacity to carry out global warfare, including weapons systems that reside in space.”

Dornberger’s nuclear link continues in various forms throughout the U.S. military space program. The Strategic Defense Initiative scheme of Reagan—although this was barely disclosed at the time—was predicated on orbiting battle platforms with on-board hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons. They were to be energized by on-board nuclear reactors.

As General James Abrahamson, SDI director, said at a Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion, “without reactors in orbit [there is] going to be a long, long light [extension] cord that goes down to the surface of the Earth” to bring up power to energize space weaponry………………….[2]

August 26, 2021 Posted by | politics, Reference, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power and nuclear weapons together, in a bonanza for a privatised space industry

Insane U.S. Plan to Spend Billions on Weaponizing Space Makes Defense Contractors Jump for Joy—But Rest of World Cowers in Horror at Prospect of New Arms Race Leading to World War III

CovertAction Magazine  By Karl Grossman – August 25, 2021   ”……………….New World Vistas

A 1996 U.S. Air Force report, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21st Century, speaks of how “new technologies will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness to be used to deliver energy and mass as force projection in tactical and strategic conflict. These advances will enable lasers with reasonable mass and cost to effect very many kills.”

However, “power limitations impose restrictions” on such space weaponry making them “relatively unfeasible,” but “a natural technology to enable high power is nuclear power in space.” Says the report: “Setting the emotional issues of nuclear power aside, this technology offers a viable alternative for large amounts of power in space.”

This linkage continues.

A 104-page report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2021 entitled Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration declared: “Space nuclear propulsion and power systems have the potential to provide the United States with military advantages.”

The report’s central focus is the advocacy of rocket propulsion by nuclear power for U.S. missions to Mars and lays out “synergies” in space nuclear activities between NASA and the U.S. military.

On December 19, 2021, just before he was to leave office, Trump signed Space Policy Directive-6, titled “National Strategy for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion.”

Its provisions include: “DoD [Department of Defense] and NASA, in cooperation with DOE [Department of Energy], and with other agencies and private-sector partners, as appropriate, should evaluate technology options and associated key technical challenges for an NTP [Nuclear Thermal Propulsion] system, including reactor designs, power conversion, and thermal management. DoD and NASA should work with their partners to evaluate and use opportunities for commonality with other SNPP [Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion] needs, terrestrial power needs, and reactor demonstration projects planned by agencies and the private sector.”

It continues: “DoD, in coordination with DOE and other agencies, and with private sector partners, as appropriate, should develop reactor and propulsion system technologies that will resolve the key technical challenges in areas such as reactor design and production, propulsion system and spacecraft design, and SNPP system integration.”

The members of the committee that put together the report for the National Academies included executives of the aerospace and nuclear industry—a key element in U.S. space policy.

For example, as the report states, there were: Jonathan W. Cirtain, president of Advanced Technologies, “a subsidiary of BWX Technologies which is the sole manufacturer of nuclear reactors for the U.S. Navy”; Roger M. Myers, owner of R. Myers Consulting and who previously at Aerojet Rocketdyne “oversaw programs and strategic planning for next-generation in-space missions [that] included nuclear thermal propulsion and nuclear electric power systems; and Joseph A. Sholtis, Jr., “owner and principal of Sholtis Engineering & Safety Consulting, providing expert nuclear, aerospace, and systems engineering services to government, national laboratories, industry, and academia since 1993.”

And so on.

“Rigged Game in Washington”

The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space was formed in 1992 at a meeting in Washington, D.C., and has been the leading group internationally challenging the weaponization and nuclearization of space.

Its coordinator, Bruce Gagnon, in a 2021 interview with me, said: “The aerospace industry has long proclaimed that ‘Star Wars’ would be the largest industrial project in human history. Add the nuclear industry’s ambition to use space as its ‘new market,’ and one can imagine the money that would be involved. These two industry giants have put their resources together to ensure their ‘control and domination’ of the U.S. Congress. Both political parties are virtually locked down when it comes to appropriating funds to move the arms race into space and to colonize the heavens for corporate profits. Just one example is the recent approval in Congress of the creation of the ‘Space Force’ as a new service branch in the military.”

During the Trump administration (with the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives) the Space Force was ‘stood up’ as they like to say in the biz,” said Gagnon. “The Democrats could have stopped the creation of this new military branch. During the little congressional debate that did occur, the only thing the Democrats requested was to call it the ‘Space Corps’ (like the Marine Corps). It’s a rigged game in Washington when it comes to handing out money to the aerospace industry.”

Gagnon continued: “In his book, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the 2lst Century, former Navy War College Professor Thomas Barnett writes that, under globalization of the world economy, every country will have a different role. We won’t produce shoes, cars, phones, washing machines and the like in the U.S. anymore because it is cheaper for industry to exploit labor in the global south.

Our role in the U.S., Barnett says, will be ‘security export.’ That means we will endlessly fight wars in the parts of the world where nations are not yet ‘fully integrated’ into corporate capitalism. Having a dominant military in space would enable the US to see, hear and target everything on the Earth.”

“In order to put together a global ‘Leviathan’ military capability,” Gagnon continued, “space must be militarized and weaponized. The cost of doing so is enormous and requires cuts in social and environmental spending and larger contributions from NATO member nations.”

“In addition to using space technology to control Earth on behalf of corporate capital, the new Space Force will have another key job. They will be tasked with attempting to control the pathway on and off the planet Earth. In the 1989 Congressional Study entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, congressional staffer John Collins writes on pages 24 and 25: “Nature reserves decisive advantage for L4 and L5, two allegedly stable [space] libration points that theoretically could dominate Earth and moon, because they look down both gravity wells. No other location is equally commanding…. Armed forces might lie in wait at that location to hijack rival shipments on return.”

Privatized Gold Rush

“The Pentagon is looking to a future where space would be fully privatized and a new gold rush would ensue. Corporations and rich fat-cats like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, while ignoring the UN’s Outer Space and Moon Treaties that call the heavens the ‘province of all mankind,’ would move to control the shipping lanes from Earth into space. The Space Force would be used by these ‘space entrepreneurs’ as their own private pirate forces to ensure they controlled the extraction of resources mined from planetary bodies. This provocative vision would in the end recreate the global war system, which has been deeply embedded into the culture and consciousness here on Earth. Russia, China and other space-faring nations are not going to allow the US to be the ‘Master of Space.’”

Planting Earth’s Toxic Residue in the Heavens and the Fight to Stop It

Says Gagnon: “I call this the bad seed of greed, war and environmental devastation that we are poised to plant into the heavens.”

“It is my hope that the global public would quickly awaken to a deep understanding and not allow corporate oligarchs or the military to encircle our planet with so much space junk that we would be forever entombed on Earth, or continue to punch a hole in the Earth’s delicate ozone layer from toxic rocket exhaust after each of their tens of thousands of coming launches, or ruin the sacred night sky with blinking satellites for 5G that will in the end be used by the Space Force for expanded ‘space situational awareness’ and targeting capabilities.”

“We have reached the point in human history where we need the immediate intervention by the citizen taxpayers of the planet to ensure that our tiny orbiting satellite called Earth remains livable for the future generations,” Gagnon declared. “We can’t fall for the public relations story-line of the cowboy sailing off into space to discover the new world. We know how that movie turns out in the end—just ask the Native American people.”

U.S. Army Colonel John Fairlamb (Ret.), in 2021 wrote in The Hill, the Washington, D.C., news website: “Let’s be clear: Deploying weapons in space crosses a threshold that cannot be walked back.” Fairlamb’s background includes being International Affairs Specialist for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Military Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs.

“Given the implications for strategic stability, and the likelihood that such a decision [to deploy weapons in space] by any nation would set off an expensive space arms race in which any advantage gained would likely be temporary, engaging now to prevent such a debacle seems warranted,” wrote Fairlamb.

His piece was headed: “The U.S. should negotiate a ban on basing weapons in space.”

“It’s time,” Fairlamb wrote, “for arms control planning to address the issues raised by this drift toward militarization of space. Space is a place where billions of defense dollars can evaporate quickly and result in more threats about which to be concerned. Russia and China have been proposing mechanisms for space arms control at the United Nations for years; it’s time for the U.S. to cooperate in this effort.”

As Alice Slater, a member of the boards of both the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and the organization World BEYOND War, says: “The U.S. mission to dominate and control the military use of space has been, historically and at present, a major obstacle to achieving nuclear disarmament and a peaceful path to preserve all life on Earth. Reagan rejected Gorbachev’s offer to give up ‘Star Wars’ as a condition for both countries to eliminate all their nuclear weapons … Bush and Obama blocked any discussion in 2008 and 2014 on Russian and Chinese proposals for a space-weapons ban in the consensus-bound Committee on Disarmament in Geneva.”

At this unique time in history when it is imperative that nations of the world join in cooperation to share resources to end the global plague assaulting its inhabitants and to avoid catastrophic climate destruction or Earth-shattering nuclear devastation,” said Slater, “we are instead squandering our treasure and intellectual capacity on weapons and space warfare.”

And yet far worse is to come—unless there is a return to the vision of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The latter needs to be expanded, U.S. Space Force dismantled, and a full global commitment made to keep space for peace.

As we go to press, Breaking Defense published an article: “Pentagon Poised To Unveil, Demonstrate Classified Space Weapon.” This was its headline. Above the headline it stated: “Show Coverage: Space Symposium 2021”

The piece begins: “For months, top officials at the Defense Department have been working toward declassifying the existence of a secret space weapon program and providing a real-world demonstration of its capabilities.” It continues: “The system in question long has been cloaked in the blackest of black secrecy veils—developed as a so-called Special Access Program known only to a very few, very senior government leaders.”

The August 20th article features below its headline a large illustration of—as its caption reads—“Directed energy anti-satellite weapons for the future (Lockheed Martin)”

Space Symposium 2021 was to be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado between August 23 and 26. A main speaker was to be General John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force.

Breaking Defense describes itself as “the digital magazine on the strategy, politics and technology of defense,” adding: “It’s a new era in defense, where new technologies, new warfare domains and a rapidly shifting military and political landscape have profound implications for national security.”

Profound, indeed!

August 26, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Exposure to radiation can affect DNA: Astronauts on long-duration missions in space at risk 

Exposure to radiation can affect DNA: Astronauts on long-duration missions in space at risk
Scientists have measured the levels of chromosome alterations from radiation and other factors before and after a space mission.   s countries rush to the Moon, with plans afoot for future manned exploration of Mars and beyond, one of the biggest threats to astronauts is being exposed to radiation in space. Researchers at the International Space Station (ISS) have now detected and measured the radiation exposure damage to astronauts during spaceflight.

Astronauts on board the flying outpost have continuously been studying 
ways to reduce the risks of the hazards of spaceflight and develop capabilities to predict space radiation exposure for future exploration missions.

In a study published in the journal Nature-Scientific Reports, scientists demonstrate how the sensitivity of an individual astronaut’s DNA to radiation exposure on Earth can predict their DNA’s response during spaceflight as measured by changes to their chromosomes.

Radiation exposure for astronauts

As part of the research, scientists studied blood samples of 43 crew missions taken pre-flight and post-flight. While pre-flight blood samples were exposed to varying doses of gamma rays, post-flight blood samples were collected shortly and several months after landing.

“We wanted to know if it is possible to detect and measure radiation exposure damage in the bodies of astronauts, and if there were differences based on age, sex, and other factors that could be measured before they go into space,” said senior scientist Honglu Wu from Nasa’s Johnson Space Center. Researchers studied the impact of these radiations on the chromosomes of astronauts. Chromosomes contain our bodies’ DNA building blocks, and altering them can increase the risk of developing cancer and other diseases.

During the experiment, scientists measured the levels of chromosome alterations from radiation and other factors before and after a mission. These alterations to chromosomes are observed in a very small percentage of individual cells within a person’s blood.

Here’s what they found

As part of the study, scientists conducted three measurements, first, they analysed blood samples of astronauts before they flew to the ISS, to assess their baseline chromosomal status, then these blood samples were intentionally exposed to gamma-ray radiation on Earth to measure how easily the cells accumulate changes, and third, after the astronauts returned from their missions, the study team again took blood samples from the individuals to assess their level of chromosomal alterations.

Following the deep analysis of samples scientists found:

  • Older crew members had higher levels of baseline chromosomal irregularities
  • Blood cells of older astronauts were more sensitive to developing chromosomal alterations
  • Crew members with higher inherent sensitivity, as determined by gamma radiation on the ground, were more likely to see higher levels of changes to their chromosomes in their post-flight blood samples compared to those with lower sensitivity
  • Individuals who showed higher baseline chromosomal alterations in their pre-flight blood samples tended to also be more sensitive to developing additional chromosomal changes
  • “The findings suggest that if older astronauts indeed have higher sensitivities to radiation, they might be at higher risk of chromosome alterations,” said Wu.

What is space radiation?

The ISS is permanently exposed to several radiations emerging from the vastness of the cosmos including continuous bombardment of particles from the Sun. Space radiation originates from Earth’s magnetic field, particles shot into space during solar flares, and galactic cosmic rays, which originate outside our solar system.

Continuous exposure to these radiations can lead to cancer alterations to the central nervous system, cardiovascular disease, and other adverse health effects. While astronauts are protected from major radiation in low-earth orbit, due to Earth’s magnetic field, spacecraft shielding and a limited time in space, these factors would dramatically change for long-duration missions.

Therefore, studying these changes is critical so that new ways and medical treatments can be devised.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment