Inside GNSS Media & Research

MAY-JUN 2018

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28 Inside GNSS M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 the release of the new Space Enterprise Vision (SEV). e SEV frames how the U. S. will address the threat posed by other space-capable nations. "Most U.S. military space systems were not designed with threats in mind, and were built for long-term functionality and efficiency, with systems operating for decades in some cases. Without the need to factor in threats, longevity and cost were the critical factors to design and these factors were applied in a mission stovepipe. is is no longer an adequate methodology to equip space forces." "e potential adversaries we have a rou nd t he world k now ver y wel l how important space is to us and how important it is to our alliances and to our partners and how we would operate and fight," said former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. China, in particular, has been watching and learning from U.S. space operations for the last 25 years, James told a September CSIS symposium on organizing military space. China is working hard to expand its military capabilities in space, say defense officials, and thwarting GPS is one of the things on which they are focusing. "e PLA (People's Liberation Army) is acquiring a range of technologies to improve China's counter-space capabili- ties," the Department of Defense (DoD) said in its annual report to Congress on military and security developments in China. China was working on directed- energy weapons and satellite jammers, DoD wrote, and navigation satellites were among the targets suggested in Chinese PLA writings. "In the not-too-distant future, they (the Chinese) will be able to use that capability to threaten every spacecra we have in space. We have to prevent that, and the best way to prevent war is to be prepared for war," Hyten told an audi- ence in January at Stanford University in California, according to a DoD sum- mary. "So, the United States is going to do that, and we're going to make sure that everybody knows we're prepared for war." More Is Better Hyten, who is now leading Air Force Space Command when the SEV came out, told this year's Space Symposium that the biggest advantage the U.S. has in space is the "sheer mass and unbelievable capability that we have built." While the importance of those on- orbit assets mean they are likely targets, having a mass of spacecraft in place could also serve as a deterrent, suggested the expert. Commercial operators like Iridium have spacecraft in orbit that they can move into place when needed, pointed out the source. e GPS constellation has spares too, the source said, f ive — plus another five that are not in as good a shape but could still be useful in a pinch. "It (a backup) only has to last until the next time you launch," the expert said. The source believes the Air Force will launch the new GPS III and GPS IIIF spacecraft quick ly and not wait until the satellites now on orbit need to be replaced — as has been the practice in the past. ose older satellites will be turned off but will be available as back- ups, the expert said. Given the number of planned GPS III spacecra the constel- lation will be more than twice as big as it needs to be and "that's a big problem when it comes to thinking about how you are going to target those things." e minimum for the constellation is 24 and one only needs to see four satel- lites for a navigation solution, the source pointed out. "So you can zap a lot of GPS satellites before it really matters," the expert said. Moreover, with the advent of other new satellite navigation constellations there will be even more spacecra avail- able, spacecraft with separate ground systems, to provide satellite navigation service in an emergency. With targeting the GPS constellation made so much more difficult, would an adversary risk the consequences? Per- haps not. e U.S. has made it clear that any attack on its space assets will be met with a strong reaction. "Our national security strategy states that the United States considers unfet- tered access to and freedom to operate in space as a vital national interest," Gen. John Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, told the Space Sym- posium. "It goes on to further state any harmful interference with or an attack upon critical components of our space architecture that directly affect that vital U.S. interests will be met with a deliber- ate response at a time place manner and domain of our choosing." Getting There It's an interesting plan, but will there be sufficient launch capacity both in terms of launch vehicles and launch sites to pull it off? Once you have the satellites can you get them on orbit? All those who spoke to Inside GNSS about it said "Yes." "My feeling is that, if the demand is there, the supply will be there," said Marcia Smith, a space policy expert who followed issues for the Congress as a member of the Congressional Research Service and is now the founder and edi- tor of ere are many more launch options for the Air Force now than there were in years past, she pointed out. Orbit a l AT K ha s it s new, la rge OmegA launch vehicle, she said, while United Launch Alliance (a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security) offers the Vulcan. Among the new space launch entrepreneurs is Blue Origin with the New Glenn launch vehicle and SpaceX WASHINGTON VIEW Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, Commander, Air Force Space Command Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force

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