On Tuesday, SpaceX plans to launch a more powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. This time the client is the US space force and the load is strictly classified.
The launch comes as tensions between the United States and Russia escalate as Russia invades Ukraine and days after Russia threatened to target commercial satellites that show benefits to Ukraine and its allies. During the war.
The launch is another sign of the Pentagon’s growing reliance on commercial space as it becomes more capable as space becomes more competitive. The partnership was also incorporated into a defense strategy released by the Ministry of Defense earlier this week: “We will increase cooperation with the private sector in priority areas, especially with the commercial aerospace industry, by making progress.” Technology and entrepreneurial spirit to open up new capabilities ”
But because of those technologies – cheap and reusable rockets that fly more frequently, dozens of small satellites that can be launched play a large role in the arsenal of national defense and intelligence officials. Know that they can be threatened. However, what happened is not clear.
Commercial satellites test war rules in Russia-Ukraine conflict
“I’m sure my counterpart in Russia, no matter who it is, is not happy with Starlink because it is “Help Ukraine.” “And with commercials like Maxar products that are making a name for themselves around the world, I don’t think they’re happy about it. And we know that they may take action to try to stop those commercial services because they go against the national interest. Of Russia.
Days later, a senior Russian official revealed him as a prophet, threatening a commercial satellite during a UN meeting.
In a speech, Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Non-Proliferation and Weapons, said the proliferation of privately-owned satellites was the most dangerous trend beyond the use of space technology. Danger and became apparent over time. The latest developments in Ukraine.
“Some civilian infrastructure could be legitimate targets for retaliation,” he warned.
Asked about the threat, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday echoed previous comments from her counterpart at the Pentagon and said: “Any attack on US infrastructure will be punished. Respond as you have heard from my colleagues in our time and manner of recruitment. And it remains to be seen. We will continue to seek all means to explore, prevent and hold Russia responsible for any such attack. “I will not put them here in public. But we have made it very clear.”
The threat has not slowed down the Pentagon’s continued use of rapidly evolving commercial space technology.
“Most of the innovation in space is from business, not government, and that’s a big change from the last decade,” said Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation. . “The big challenge is how the US military takes advantage of that. “It’s a very different way of doing business.”
Ukraine and its Western allies have relied on a number of US companies, including Planet and Maxar Technologies, which provided real-time satellite imagery of the battlefield, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which operates the Starlink satellite team, which provides Internet access. By keeping Ukraine online, despite Russian attacks on ground communications systems.
The Pentagon is not just looking for huge rockets to launch huge and amazing satellites. It shows an unusual interest in small rockets designed to fire frequently and with short notifications that allow rapid response to ground conditions.
The Pentagon and the US intelligence agency have taken a keen interest in Virgin Orbit, a small launch company founded by Richard Branson. Instead of launching its rocket from a vertical launch pad on the ground, the company dropped its propulsion device under the wing of the 747, which loaded it upwards. It then dropped a rocket that fired its engine and flew into space. That allows the company to start from any runway that can carry 747 aircraft.
U.S. officials say Russia has mastered the art of disrupting satellites and has repeatedly tried to block the Starlink system, even though it still has internet access. Last year, Russia fired a missile that destroyed a dead satellite in a test that demonstrated its ability to target sensitive spacecraft.
That is why the Pentagon is relying on small constellations. Knock one or two out and there are dozens more to pick up underwear. And because they are so cheap, they can take their place.
The adoption of the technology is also noted in the Pentagon’s defense strategy document: “In space, the department will reduce the enemy’s motivation for the first attack by launching a multi-purpose satellite that is no longer needed. Further. “
Swarms satellites make it harder to target them, Derek Tournear, director of the Space Force space development agency, said this week, according to SpaceNews. How much did Russia’s Starlink satellite launch? The answer is “zero,” he said.