Why Does the US Need a Space Force?
We’ve written before about the competition with Russia and China in space. But have you ever stopped to wonder what a space war would look like and why the US might need a Space Force? WeAreTheMighty published an article that gives us a great perspective, so we’ll use a few excerpts here.
Nearly every bank transaction that occurs both in the US and the world goes through a satellite. Take out the satellite and bam! No banking. Take out the communication satellites for airlines, cellphone, news media, you name it… and whalla! But none of that counts what would happen if the DoD satellites go down.
According to the article in WeAreTheMighty, there are over 800 warfighting satellites in orbit. Take them out – including the GPS and other comlinks- and the military goes blind, at least until someone comes up with solutions. Technology is great unless it’s not working. The grid goes dark and we’d have a major problem, Houston.
It’s a start for you to understand why President Trump demanded creation of a Space Force.
So what if things escalated from the point of mere lasers and jammers to temporarily disable satellites? What if actual war broke out?
The U.S. could turn to systems like the Raven, a NASA program that allows for automated link ups between satellites, to get American kill satellites into position above Chinese satellites, link up with them, and then steer them downwards, turning them into a meteor that will explode and burn up in the atmosphere.
But by the time a space war breaks out, China may have has its own system for sending orbiting objects into the atmosphere, like the proposed “space broom,” a satellite bearing a laser for burning up space debris and sending it back into the atmosphere. If it aims at a pressurized tank on an American satellite, it could create a tiny hole that would vent gasses and degrade the satellite’s orbit, dooming it.
The article stated that SO FAR the nations of the world have refrained from using “weapons of mass destruction” in orbit. But if a war should break out in LEO (low earth orbit) all manned missions would be instantly in jeopardy – particularly the people aboard the International Space Station.
The article continued:
“Think thousands if not millions of bullets, all flying at speeds sufficient to punch right through the International Space Station or the planned Chinese large, modular space station. Expect both countries to immediately try to evacuate their troops. For the ISS crew, this means they need to make it the Soyuz capsules and immediately start the launch sequence, a process expected to take three minutes.
But the really bad thing about this type of war is that it can’t end. See, those bits of space debris go in all directions. The ones flying at escape velocity will fly away and travel, potentially forever, through the universe. The ones that explode towards the earth will likely burn up quickly.
But the ones flying at the right velocity, quite possibly thousands or millions of pieces of metal per missile vs. satellite engagement, will simply fly through low earth orbit at thousands of miles per hour, shredding everything they come in contact with and creating more debris.”
Now perhaps you understand why the President has been so emphatic about the “Space Force.” Some branches have had their own people working on these kinds of issues, but a directed cohesive effort could very well save the America and the earth from total disaster.
Featured photo at top of article: US Army