Monday 24th of January 2022



Space shuttle Discovery is due to dock with the ISS... [2005]
while snails are returning to Earth at great speed... on a Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russia’s Salizhan Sharipov, US astronaut Leroy Chiao, and Italy’s Robert Vittori...
Strange... I thought (or was it in a dream?) a few days ago about studying snails, but in space? Hey, why not and see which way they curl up or get their foot in a knot while frothing at the mouth...?
This brings me to another one of chapters in modern human history that are very important to me...
These events represent the underlying way we, the general public, live happy as Larry under our beautiful skies, while we have no clue what is happening deep in the corridors of powers, or up there in the battles of space wars, with umbrellas of threats and counterthreats, of deep analysis of these threats and these counter threats, of governmental desires of supremacy and controls...
History provides the trends on which we are moving towards... but we need to know what is on the table... as well as what’s hidden under it.
Humanity on earth is like the magic colours of a soap bubble but like it... it is so fragile...
Unfortunately, we “vote” and live in democracies that cannot afford too many people asking the right questions... or know too much...

I’d like thus to not so much expose, as it is somewhat known, but I’d like to remind those who know and tell those who don’t know, especially our young people about a sorry series of events that happened during the 50s and 60s... and still have massive repercussion today. See in many areas of governmental development, planning often starts 30 years before any headway is achieved in the desired direction. Thus R&D (Research and Development) burns an enormous amount of dollar before bringing returns and all this money comes from our pocket or our kids’ future earning, that we’re spending NOW...
I am referring here to the Van Allen Belts saga... and the nuclear age and tests that followed from that first explosion in the Nevada desert.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are well known, the French atomic tests in Tahiti are well known, the English tests in this country (Australia) are also well studied but some tests never made it to the front page of the rags of the day.
Even on that first Nevada test, the father of the “bomb”, Robert Oppenheimer was slightly worried the chain reaction would not stop once the nuclear fuel was “spent”although he was 99 per cent sure it would... The calculations proved right otherwise the earth would have become an extra “sun” in our solar system...
A friend of mine asked me about Aurora Borealis a few days ago and I nearly cried... I remembered these many misdemeanours we were doing (and those we are still doing) to our little planet...

What are the Van Allen Belts indeed?
In simple broad terms, it’s a conglomeration of charged particles at about 1000 km above the earth surface (lower in some parts) that are trapped by the earth magnetism and stirred up by solar winds which they deflect... A division occurs between night and day... and since the belts do not exist in the polar regions we get the fantastic glow of the upper layers of the atmosphere being exposed directly to solar winds...
The Van Allen Belts also act as a reflector of radio waves for certain frequencies, mostly in the short band width. It’s not “designed” as such but it’s a very useful natural property and many “Ham” radio operator would know that it works best, if only, during night time...
In the wisdom and madness of the space age race and nuclear supremacy, the USA and the USSR did nuclear tests up there, in mid last century just “to see what would happen...” . In fact it was part of impact studies a nuclear explosion would have on not yet-developed satellites, in the future... as well as other secret agenda, like domination in  space...

Summary notes from the US tests follow thus (similar tests and results from the USSR):
Family: Status USAF X-17
Country: USA.
Sounding Rockets flight test program at Cape Canaveral studied reentry problems by
simulating reentry velocities and conditions with a three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17.
A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957.
1958 Aug 27 -Launch Site USS Norton Sound Launch Complex

Argus 1
The Argus series were the only clandestine nuclear ever conducted by the United States.The rocket-launched nuclear warheads were set off at very high altitudes over the South Atlantic,1800 km south-west of Capetown,South Africa. The purpose was to determine the effects of nuclear tests explosions on the Earth’s
magnetic field and the impact to military radar, communications, satellites and ballistic missiles electronics. The earth’s magnetic field is not only off-axis from the earth,but also off centre from the earth’s core. This means the Van Allen Radiation belts are closest to the earth in the region known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly’.
This made the selected launch point the ideal place for launching a rocket into the lower belt where the particles and radiation from the explosion would be trapped.

Van Allen Radiation belts
The 1.7 kiloton W-25 warhead used had been developed and previously tested for the Genie air-to-air missile.The first test was launched from 38.5 deg S,11.5 deg.W, and exploded at an altitude of 160 km. The initial flash was followed by an auroral luminescence extending upward and downward along the magnetic lines where the burst occurred.The experiment verified the predictions made in the original October 1957 proposal by N.C.Christofilos of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore*.

1958 Aug 30 — Launch Site USS Norton Sound Launch Complex — Argus 2
Second covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van Allen radiation belts
The launch location was 49.5 deg South, 8.2 deg West; altitude reached 294 km; yield of the nuclear warhead, 1.7 kilotons.

1958 Sep 6 — Launch Site USS Norton Sound Launch Complex — Argus 3
Third and final covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van
Allen radiation belts. The launch location was 48.5 deg South,9.7 deg West ;altitude
reached 750 km; yield of the nuclear warhead,1.7 kilotons.
1959 - Deputy Secretary of Defense Quarles announced that three blasts were secretly
fired in space (Project Argus) in 1958, using modified X-17 rockets.
Gus: I can say here that although there was “minimal” damage to the Belts, one cannot but measure the long term effect of such explosions... The US repeated similar series of tests in 1962... The Russians also conducted similar tests...

The following article from the:
“© British Crown Copyright 2004/MoD. Published with the permission of the controller
of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office”
could be bogus but I don’t think so... here it is anyway...
Modelling Artificial Van Allen Radiation Belts
Computational Physics Group, Design Physics Department, AWE Aldermaston, Reading,
RG7 4PR.
Atmospheric detonation of nuclear weapons leaves many nuclides (the weapon debris) in states which decay by emission of -particles and -rays in the MeV energy range. These radionuclides typically decay along a chain of daughter species over a considerable period of time, and so the -particles and -rays are classed as “delayed” radiation.
Delayed radiation resulting from a nuclear burst in the upper atmosphere can pose a serious threat to space-based systems, especially satellites.
Unprotected satellites may be damaged by the impact of energetic -rays, for example, or by the accumulation of charge due to sweeping up both -particles and the electrons that they produce in atmospheric ionisation events.
Modern electronic components can be particularly sensitive, but may be “hardened” in critical systems if deemed necessary. Determination of the -particle flux produced by high altitude detonations is therefore important to satellite design.
A particular problem is the long term persistence of the flux due to charged particle trapping by the geomagnetic field producing artificial radiation belts.
AWE has established a model for calculating the hostile environments presented by geomagnetically
trapped -particles following a high altitude nuclear burst.
In order to build a model of nuclear-induced radiation belts, kinetic theory is used to find the characteristics of the bounce motion back and forth along the field lines and the Eastward (and curvature) drift motion which the
-[negative] particles undergo.
A model for the atmospheric detrapping of -particles is also required. Non-collisional particle diffusion mechanisms can destabilise radiation belt particles in the long term; the experimental results from high altitude nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s cannot be reproduced unless non-collisional effects, such as interactions with electromagnetic waves, are assumed either to move the s across field lines (“L-shells”) or to alter the
altitude at which the particles reflect.
A model, “AIRTIGHT” (Artificially Injected Radiation Trapped In the Geo-H-field Toolkit), has been developed to track motion in reflection point altitude, longitude, energy and L-shell phase space using a simple dipole approximation to the geomagnetic field.

A Monte Carlo approach* is taken, where non-interacting particles are generated from realistic debris distributions. The flux is calculated from these data by use of the analytically determined bounce periods of the particles. Determination of the altitude of the mirror point for each particle becomes an issue, and the atmospheric effect on the pitch angle of the particles has been included. Some sample output from the AIRTIGHT model will be presented, and some broad conclusions on satellite vulnerability drawn.
© British Crown Copyright 2004/MoD. Published with the permission of the controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
This third article extracted from a feasibility study of the international Space Treaty till 2015...
...... HAND* [ High Altitude Nuclear Detonations] can destroy or disrupt LEO [Low Earth Orbit] satellites in two primary ways. First, prompt X-rays can upset or burnout the electronics for the five to ten percent of each LEO constellation within line of sight of the explosion.

212 Second, in weeks to months, potentially all non-hardened LEO satellites can fail due to the cumulative effects of phenomena such as transient-radiation effects on electronics (TREE) and system generated electromagnetic pulse (SGEMP) as the satellites operate in the greatly increased radiation belts the explosions
cause in LEO orbits.

213 One of the largest problems, however, in assessing the specific level of threat posed by HAND is a lack of experimental data on the effects of HAND on satellites (especially on modern satellite systems) and this contributes to a range of assessments concerning the severity of the threat.

214 The United States conducted two high-altitude nuclear test series before such testing was banned by the LTBT; the tests were conducted in August and September of 1958 and again during the Summer and Fall of 1962.

215 The ARGUS series was designed to test and did confirm the theory of Nicholas Christofilos of the University of California’s Radiation Laboratory that the high-energy electrons produced in a high-altitude explosion would become trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field.

216 As predicted, these trapped particles do “pump” up the radiation belts through which LEO satellites [Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites] pass during each orbit and slowly build a potentially fatal radiation dose for the satellite’s electronics. The good news is that satellites can be hardened against nuclear effects including TREE and SGEMP. According to the HALEOS* study: “sufficient hardening to survive HAND [High Altitude Nuclear Detonations (HAND)] a very short-term-induced total radiation dose could add 2-3 percent to satellite costs beyond what is required to harden against the natural environment.”

217 What are the best technical and political options for the United States to mitigate the risks associated with HAND? Watts is surely correct is his assessment that “for the next 15-20 years, the most sensible stratagem for
preventing an exo-atmospheric nuclear detonation is a combination of deterrence and
hardening the satellites themselves.”

218 These two best options are emphasized below. However, as with the other most difficult security challenges such as counterproliferation or the other most challenging space cases discussed below, a comprehensive, layered, and synergistic approach to this threat would seem to offer the best prospects for success. For these cases, the United States should pursue a range of policies designed to move up the escalatory ladder from denial, to reassurance and dissuasion, cooperative and involuntary reversal, deterrence, passive and active defenses, through counterforce operations including preemptive strikes.

219 For HAND more specifically, the United States should begin by continuing its arms control efforts such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) designed to deny potential adversaries the tools necessary to carry out a HAND.
Back to Gus:
We can see here in item 217-218-219 a complex game of deceit and manipulation in order to control space. In some way we could not agree more at limiting the risks of the nuclear threat but that gives an enormous power to one country alone if we follow the US model alone...
When the article mentions electronics of satellites being at risks because of radiation one has to read as well, and this is firmly stated in Encyclopedia Britannica, that astronauts and cosmonauts are at risk as well at certain distance from earth (in the vicinity of 1000 km... although the decay in space of the -particles and the -radiation was noted to be particularly fast for nuclear decay (scattering ).
Yet it can be said using information from other sources that from these tests that the radio-activity in the Van Allen Belts is about a thousand fold what it was prior to the tests. May be we should worry too much... may be we...

This leads me also to another article recently published in the Sydney Morning Herald:
rediscovering the global nuclear threat... Since the early 60s me and my friends have been on the barricades tooting this problem loud and clear...
Yes, the massive nuclear arsenals of the world are not just idle decorations in someone’s backyard like a bunch of smiling garden gnomes. The weapons are aimed. They are ready to be armed within seconds. They are pointed at someone else... There is a plethora of red buttons...
Nuclear Disarmament was (and I believe still is) a great priority (if not his first) of P J Keating when he was Prime Minister. The first (or second? can someone out there refresh my memory on this chronology...?) lecture of Professor Keating (after he had been voted out of office) at the University of NSW was on this very subject and he painted a bleak picture that could not be anything else but bleak...
All this, despite a “disarmament” treaty being in force... The dismantlement of some of the arsenal does not preclude the secret and even not so secret invention of new ones...
The US are working on the “Son of Star Wars” to which Australia has been committed by J W Howard, the US are developing smaller targetable nuclear device that have “minimal” environmental damage... Neutron bombs are also here and, at the very bottom of this sorry nuclear pile of hardware, we have the depleted uranium shells, used in Gulf War One, in Kosovo and Gulf War Two (more can be said on this subject alone). These shells cannot be classified as Nuclear Devices although they do emit low radio-activity to about 300 times acceptable levels if one is close enough, and much higher once they “vapourise”. They can be and should be classified as primitive “dirty” nuclear bombs...

The huge arsenal of the US would be aimed someone... say at China, Russia and a few smaller countries for good measure... The huge Russian arsenal would be pointed at China and the USA, while China’s would point at the other two, principally. The Indian nuclear arsenal is focused on Pakistan while the Pakistani outfit is aimed at India... The Israeli nuclear arsenal would have several direction around that small country, and target Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Iran and a few others. The French arsenal like the English arsenal would be targeted at everybody else...

This seemingly arrested status quo is always in a flux especially when things (like monitoring) can go wrong. A few too many times Russia was on red alert, so were the Yanks... This also is difficult to monitor as a lot of these arsenals are stashed away on nuclear submarines, cruising the world oceans 24-7 (to use this ugly Yankee euphemism meaning 24 hours a day seven days a week...)
Who can forget the missile crisis in the early 1960s. In this saga the tooted hero was President Kennedy... but the real winner was President Kruschev, as he got the US to remove the nuclear devices pointed at Russia from a bit too close in the Turkish region... The most recent known incident in 2005 was when a US memo was badly written and a spelling mistake started a huge nuclear scare... Brother!

So we’re marooned between one minute-to-midnight and one second-to-midnight from near-total oblivion on the surface of this planet, at any moment in time.... All we need is an idiot... I hate to be a prophet of gloom and doom but unless we come to our sense urgently and stop to democratically elect waring idiots in charge of our communities we should be able to pull things back a bit and see ourselves grow old... This is why the UN is so important despite its short-comings... It should be encourage to flourish and become a true centre for people of good will... This is why someone like John Bolton should not be contemplated as the US ambassador to the UN.

Hey, it’s quite funny as I was watching the ABC the other night about songs and protests... Here we had a young man fighting the obviously undemocratic behaviour of governments, yet these days these undemocratic behaviour are worse yet we don’t even hear “boo” from the youths we’re stuffing up the future of...  But due to massive deception, our governments hide their undemocratic behaviour, with the help of a media designed to put us to sleep with illusions and dreams of a better diet program... The generation-me (selfish) is winning the day... The be positive is a great seller... It’s like as if it’s un-Australian to bag J W Howard... it’s like as who cares... It’s Hollywood... Ironically, Payback and True Lies.... in the Mel Gibson movie, Payback, Kris Kristofferson plays the worst of baddies while in real life he is at the vanguard of protecting democracy... in the movie True Lies Arnold Swatzernegger plays a savior spy while in real life he adopts pseudo-nazi policies...

Yes I could not agree more with John Howard that trade is best to minimise tension between countries and he is not the owner nor the creator of this concept... it’s as old as 40,000 years of aboriginal traditions... The major problem presenting itself in our present situation with “increase trade” is also the increasing expenditure of energy to produce more stuff thus speeding up the global warming...
It’s a catch 22 situation...

What other cock-ups are we planning for the earth beside blowing up bombs in the Van Allen Belts? The accelerated deforestation of the Amazon? Dumping waste in the world oceans? Keep an eye out for the person who has nothing to lose, like the fanatic who profess god-given rights and for the grubby greedy monster who could not care less... keep a watch for the politicians who make promises and then say sorry for breaking them... (J W Howard). The only way out all this is to become more frugal. No other short term practice can help... The Flower people, the hippies of the sixties might prove to be right after all...
But will it be too late?

By Gus Leonisky at 25 Apr 2005 - 11:24am

reinstated on 21 July 2009 - 10:45

War Without End

Read excerpts from Andrew J. Bacevich's new book The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War over at TomDispatch.

US at War

I had not seen that one yet but there are other references and writings on that subject. The “war push" with the US started before the civil war with the war against Mexico and the US has been more or less at war ever since - the US-Mexican War (1846-1848), US Civil War 1861-1865, Spanish-American War of 1898 and so on and on. The list is long from Nicaragua to China. I have the full list somehwere.

But here is an interesting viewpoint from Russia:

No. 28
February 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
By Fedor BURLATSKY, chairman of the Scientific Council on Political Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Basically this letter explains after commenting on the oil in Iraq, that "preventive wars of the USA have yet another specific feature — Messianism. The Americans are convinced of their designation: to bring the ideals of democracy to the peoples of the world. Democracy and freedom are really absolute values for every person..."
But that, "A preventive war is a dangerous weapon. This is why a certain code of international-legal terms is needed, which, however, is not confined to UN resolutions only." And so on.

Yes T. G.! New nuclear posture indeed!

Extract from the article mentioned:

"""""US nuke policy rethink prompts physicist protest
Boffins against the bomb
By Lucy Sherriff
Published Wednesday 26th October 2005 15:58 GMT

Almost 500 physicists in the US have signed a petition protesting a proposed change in government policy that would allow the US to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. The proposed change in policy was reported in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The petition's instigators, both professors of physics at The University of California, San Diego, said that they felt an obligation to take a stand because of the role physics played in developing the weapons in the first place.

The change in policy would undermine the long-standing nuclear non-proliferation treaty, professors Jorge Hirsch and Kim Griest argue in the petition.

They write:

The underlying principle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is that in exchange for other countries forgoing the development of nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapon states will pursue nuclear disarmament. Instead, this new U.S. policy conveys a clear message to the 182 non-nuclear weapon states that the United States is moving strongly away from disarmament, and is in fact prepared to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries.

etc etc"""""

As alluded in my blog above this one, I have extrapolated that, although it's not overt US policy to point nukes at non-nukes countries, in practice this has been the case for years. To ratify this status as an official government policy is only the surface of an iceberg of deceit and secret plans that have been formulated for yonks. We know that in a case of conflicts all options — from napalm to unranium deplete bullets, and the nuke option — are part of the six-shot revolver pack....

lost in space...

Weird indeed... as the news of a Chinese stupid experiment, blowing up an "old" satellite into a million pieces of space junk from a rocket (that does not impress future astronaut and cosmonaut who could be hit for six by the debris, while floating above our beautiful planet) I was was going to tag along this news from China with my potted history of "space war" since the 1950s in the blog at the top "SPACE-TIME POLITICS"...

But I noticed with dismay that, either when YD moved furniture, some legs fell out or a boffin at Spooks Inc. decided the info was too hot to let it stay on the net and cracked the code to edit the piece by removing the controversial bits and leaving the heading and intro so no one would notice... But then the Chinese blow up came along. I will have to dig in my archives of filed bits to retrieve the full article that was dealing with the early nuclear experiments made by the US and the USSR in space...

Star Wars Three- Revenge of the Pentagonians

I can visualise a whole lot of Pentagonians dusting off the Reaganite plans and modernising them as we speak. No doubt the concepts of Star Wars I have had a few spring cleanings over the years, awaiting such situations as the Chinese demonstration.

These days however, it would be just as easy, as Andy Thomas was saying last year, to sling a few easy-launch lightweight drones into the sky to duke it out as requiredl Pretty useful rooks. The bishops will be the missile shield ships, able to concentrate firepower on any terra-based target in the Asia Pacific.

The space race never stopped. Watch how important Woomera becomes in the next twently years

Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan

Just over sixty years ago, the Soviet Union became the second country to possess nuclear arms when it tested its first nuclear bomb near Semipalatinsk in the then-Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

An exhibition at the State Archive, which runs until Sunday, is devoted to the anniversary of the Soviet bomb and showcases a fascinating collection of previously classified materials related to its construction.

“We are glad to show everyone these priceless historical documents. For a long time they were hidden from the public, but we managed to gain access to them. Our ultimate aim is to tell the truth about the first Soviet nuclear bomb,” said Sergei Mironenko, the State Archive’s director.


read the top comment under the image...

water on the moon...

The recent discovery of water on the Moon by India's inaugural lunar mission almost never happened because of a twin helping of good old-fashioned red tape and lingering Cold War suspicions, reports science writer Pallava Bagla.

Hidden behind the euphoria of the find is a less publicised tale of complex back room dealings between Indian and Americanspace science teams.

Back in 2004, scientists from the two countries were eager to collaborate, but the Bureau of Export Control in the US did not share this enthusiasm. In fact it was seen by some on the Indian side as being singularly obstinate.

It is accused of not being willing to clear the paperwork that would allow sophisticated American-made instruments to be airlifted to Bangalore for the mission.


read blog at top of this line of comments...

van allen belts

from the First Post

In 1962, the United States blew up a hydrogen bomb in space. The video above, posted by NPR, shows the results.

Why did they do it? Just four years earlier, a scientist called James Van Allen had discovered belts of high-energy particles around the Earth that were held in place by the planet’s magnetic field. Today those belts are called Van Allen belts.

The space nuke was big news in Hawaii Exploding an H-Bomb in space

Van Allen soon got involved with a US military plan to send rockets hundreds of miles into space to see what would happen if they were detonated in these Van Allen belts. The atomic bombs, which were first sent up in 1958, had little effect, but in July 1962, they tried a hydrogen bomb.

The operation, codenamed Starfish Prime, was so successful it created artificial extensions of the Van Allen belts that could be [seen?] from New Zealand to Hawaii.

The only thing more insane than the idea of trying to blow something up that you’ve just discovered is the reaction of the general populace, who seem to have lapped up the chance to see the resulting “nuclear rainbow”.


see article written by Gus in 2005 at top...

star wars show of strength...

THE United States threatened to take military action against China during a secret ''star wars'' arms race within the past few years, leaked documents show.

The two nuclear superpowers shot down their own satellites using missiles in separate shows of strength, the files suggest.

The US government was so incensed by Chinese actions in space that it warned Beijing it would face military action if it did not desist. However, the Chinese carried out further tests as recently as last year, leading to protests from the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Beijing justified its actions by accusing the Americans of developing an ''offensive'' laser weapon system that would be capable of destroying missiles before they left enemy territory.

The disclosures are contained in documents obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

The standoff began in January 2007 when China shocked the White House by shooting down one of its own weather satellites 850 kilometres above the Earth.

The strike, which resulted in thousands of pieces of debris orbiting the Earth, raised fears that the Chinese had the power to cause chaos by destroying US military and civilian satellites.

Read 2005 article at top... and this earlier warning on this caper...

the "saturnian" rings of earth...

The amount of junk in space is rising exponentially, with continuous collisions between abandoned equipment, spent rockets and other debris creating ever growing clouds of dangerous fragments, an influential report warned on Thursday.

The report, commissioned by Nasa, says the quantity of hazardous material circling the Earth has reached a "tipping point" and poses a real and increasing danger to satellites and the International Space Station.

It suggests developing a clean-up strategy, which could include catching debris with nets, magnets or giant umbrellas.


read article at top...

the better rocket...

On Thursday, two satellites will launch from French Guiana to begin the process of rolling out Galileo - Europe's multi-billion-euro version of the American Global Positioning System (GPS).

If that were not significant enough, the spacecraft will ride to orbit on the first Russian Soyuz rocket to operate from Western territory.

I'll talk more of Galileo later in the week, but I want to concentrate on Soyuz for this posting.

Formally initiated by European space ministers in 2003, the new Soyuz launch complex has been constructed at Europe's spaceport - the Guiana Space Centre (CSG - Centre Spatial Guyanais).

It is inside the Sinnamary commune about 15km up the coast from the Kourou commune where the pad was built for Europe's heavy-lift workhorse, the Ariane 5 rocket.


Anyone who has studied rocket science would know by now that the Russian Soyuz rockets have been the best workhorse of space exploration... The most efficient rockets using the most efficient hot fuel combination...

read article at top...

secret mission...


The X-37B is set to return to Earth after more than a year in space ... but its mission remains shrouded in secrecy.

The US Air Force unmanned experimental craft blasted off last March. It measures 8.8 metres, has a wing span of 4.6 metres and looks like a mini space shuttle, and was sent up into space to test its capabilities.

But it is not known what its purpose is, and what it could carry.

Read more:

read article at top...


doctor who and torchwood...


Britain has released an archive detailing government briefings on unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The 25 files released by The National Archives include "a lengthy briefing on UFO policy to then prime minister Tony Blair's office" along with a job description for the post of UFO desk officer, described as the "weirdest job in Whitehall".

According to a former employee of the UFO desk, which closed in 2009, the perception that it consisted of "top secret teams of specialist scientists scurrying around the country in a real life version of the X-Files" was "total fiction". Instead, daily duties included providing briefings on the ministry of defence's position on UFOs, undertaking UFO investigations, handling freedom of information requests and managing UFOlogists (UFO "experts").

We now have a fascinating insight into some of the extraordinary reports and briefings which passed over the UFO Desk on a daily basis  

Read more:


read article at top...


the bomb on the moon...

The United States planned to blow up the moon with a nuclear bomb during the cold war, according to reports.
The secret project, dubbed 'A Study of Lunar Research Flights' or 'Project A119', was allegedly devised by US military chiefs at the height of the space race in the late 1950s as a show of strength over the Soviet Union, scientists claim.
According to reports, the US would have used an atom bomb because a hydrogen bomb would have been too heavy. 

A missile carrying the bomb would have been launched from an undisclosed location on Earth and travel to the moon, where it would detonate on impact.

The project would have been carried out in 1959, but was reportedly abandoned by military officials due to fears that it would endanger people on Earth should the mission fail.

Physicist Leonard Reiffel, who was involved with the project, said it would have intimidated the Soviet Union and given the US a morale boost after the Russians successfully launched Sputnik in 1957. Reiffel went on to serve as deputy director at NASA.
Scientists involved raised concerns about contaminating the moon with radioactive material, Reiffel said.

Read more:
If you are interested in this, read from the top article in this line of comments......

belting around...

The Van Allen belts are part of a "space weather" system, driven by the interaction of charged particles blasting from the sun with the Earth's magnetic field, that can disrupt satellites, power grids and GPS. It could also potentially affect spacecraft passing through their region of space. Because of that, the Radiation Belt Storm Probes were sent up to study them in more detail and help improve space weather forecasts.

The space probes first detected two belts, as expected, when they were first turned on two days after launch.

Shortly after that, however, the outer part of the Van Allen belt was ripped away, likely by a blast of solar wind, leaving behind a ring of very high energy particles that seemed curiously "immune" to the solar wind, said Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder.

On one side of it, the inner-most ring remained stable, and on the other side, an outer belt of electrons swelled and shrank repeatedly over the next few weeks. The inner-most ring remained stable during that time.

Four weeks later, a solar shock wave destroyed the two outer rings. Eventually, the familiar outer ring reformed in their place.

However, Baker said, there has been no recurrence of the third belt in the past five months.

Mona Kessel, a Van Allen Probes program scientist with NASA, said at the news conference that the researchers "don't completely understand the phenomena we're seeing."

"We're trying to piece this all together right now," she added.

Please, read story at top...

squandering square meals to mars...

Why are world leaders so eager to spend billions of dollars on space programs rather than eliminating poverty at home? Because they want to wave their flags, writes Ruby Hamad.

Closely watched by NASA and, no doubt, its envious Chinese neighbours, India successfully launched Mangalyaan, its first ever mission to Mars, in search of the ever-elusive "traces of life" on the red planet.

But not everyone is thrilled with the $73 million price tag, including Dr Jean Dreze of the Delhi School of Economics. "The country would be better served if the same resources, talent and zeal were focused on public health or solar energy, " the economist told CNN.

Social activist Dr Ranjana Kumari agrees: "I certainly think where one third of the population is below poverty line and struggling, almost barely surviving, certainly the priorities have to be more for social programs, for ensuring that everybody gets at least shelter and two square meals a day."


Read story at top...

beyond the cold war...


Higher Risks with Hybrid Warfare

"It (hybrid warfare) makes everything more dangerous," said Nunn, "It makes tactical nuclear weapons more dangerous, and it makes weapons material more dangerous." It is common knowledge that some of these weapons are also stationed in Germany. Up to 20 B61 aerial bombs, now being updated at great expense, are stored at the Büchel Air Base in the Eifel region of western Germany. They are under US command, but German Tornado fighter jets would drop the bombs in the event of a war.

When asked if hybrid warfare could raise the danger of nuclear weapons being used, US diplomat Richard Burt -- who, in his role as chief negotiator, helped put together the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, between the United States and the Soviet Union -- answered in the affirmative. "The simple answer is yes. Both American and Russian nuclear arms are essentially on a kind of hair-trigger alert. Both sides have a nuclear posture where land-based missiles could be authorized for use in less than 15 minutes." In the situation of hybrid warfare, he warns, "that is a dangerous state of play."

"In the Cold War, we created mechanisms of security. A huge number of treaties and documents helped us to avoid a big and serious military crash," says former Foreign Minister Ivanov. "Now the threat of a war is higher than during the Cold War."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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the profitable tools of wars...


WASHINGTON — It’s no secret that federal bureaucracy can be inefficient, wasteful and dysfunctional, but when the cumulative effect of mistakes at a major nuclear weapons laboratory starts resembling a Three Stooges shtick, it’s anything but funny. It’s dangerous.

Despite being a major component (and birthplace) of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, the lab is not (mis)managed solely by the federal government. The longstanding problems at the New Mexico campus, which include enough safety and security lapses to make one’s hair curl, have taken place under the stewardship of a private global construction giant, Bechtel Corporation, which leads the public-private partnership called Los Alamos National Security LLC. This also includes the University of California, which botched its own 62-year management of the lab but was taken on as a partner anyway. Two other private contractors—BWX Technologies and Washington Group International (now AECOM)—form the rest of the enterprise, which beat out other major privateers, such as Lockheed Martin, for the $2.2 billion contract in 2006.

Bechtel, the largest civil engineering and construction contractor in the United States, brought in an annual revenue stream of $32.3 billion as of 2015. It raked in billions of military contracts during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, scooping up a $680 million deal to “rebuild” only a month after the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. Despite a long record of cost-overruns, mismanagement, environmental violations, and even fraud in its many war and domestic contracts, Bechtel has soared on to bigger and better things, today holding an unprecedented $10 billion contract to build Saudi Arabia’s first underground transportation system in Riyadh, and a planet full of other projects, including those involving the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Los Alamos partnership is destined to be just a footnote in the company’s 120-year history, however. In fact, Bechtel’s stewardship was so bad the consortium is losing its contract in 2018 and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the semi-autonomous part of the Department of Energy that oversees the development and modernization of the nation’s nuclear warheads, officially started the bid process for the new contract in late June.

The question is if privatizing the industry proved less safe and more expensive than a government run operation, will another private contractor be any better? Furthermore, seeing how the DOE, NNSA—even the U.S. Congress—fell down in its oversight responsibilities, who can be confident that the government can turn this lab, or any other that has been farmed out to industry, around?

“The management problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory are so deep and structural, there’s a lot of blame to go around, and they won’t be fixed by picking one contractor over another. The entire contracting arrangements need to be completely rethought and congressional oversight committees need to do their duty,” says Greg Mello, director of the Los Alamos Study Group, an Albuquerque-based non-profit that since 1989 has been relentless in its pursuit to cast sunlight on the lab’s activities, including its contract and program boondoggles and security breaches.

“There has been little accountability for mistakes for literally hundreds of fiascos and goofball management decisions,” Mello told TAC last week. “We have to start with parsing the elements of the mission and the presumption that a lot of people can get rich while doing very little work at a federal nuclear weapons laboratory. The culture of Los Alamos is deeply arrogant and to bring back a culture of public service and intellectual integrity will require more institutional examination than has ever happened.”

For their part the NNSA and Bechtel have played down the connection between the partnership’s well-documented safety violations and cost overruns and the loss of the contract. “This has been forecasted long ago,” NNSA spokesman Greg Wolf said in June. “This was coming and the timing is coincidental.”

But in 2015 it was made clear that the partnership did not meet expectations and per the contract, failed to secure enough “award terms” that would allow them to extend the contract beyond the time it was set to expire in FY 2017.

Mello makes no bones about the the fact he is in favor of nuclear disarmament, in part because he believes the nuclear weapons industry has become a self-perpetuating bureaucracy forever in search of “make work” to justify its increasing federal budget (President Trump has proposed a 7.8 percent increase in the NNSA budget to $13.9 billion in FY18). This is not much different than the rest of the federal bureaucracy, but unlike other agencies, the NNSA involves “the apocalyptic power of nuclear weapons” and the constant threat of war to sustain itself, says Mello.

“It’s where Dr. Strangelove lives,” he said, referring to the 1964 political satire in which weak politicians and zealous military generals, advised by a diabolical wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi played by Peter Sellers, buffoon their way into a global nuclear holocaust. “He didn’t really go away, he took a job at the (Los Alamos) weapons lab and in the upper levels of the Air Force. That’s their problem. They’re an opaque part of the military that has an outsized role in maintaining a posture that keeps the threat of nuclear annihilation alive.”

Whether you agree with disarmament supporters or come down on the side that believes the nation’s nuclear arsenal must be modernized in order to maintain the Nuclear Triad and its role as a strategic deterrent (particularly now, when tensions with the only other country that can match’s America’s nuclear stockpile, Russia, are uncomfortably high), mounting evidence that what’s going on at Los Alamos is counter-productive on any front is hard to ignore.

On the safety and security front: numerous incidents reported and cited in investigations regarding employee exposure to radioactive material, including plutonium, arsenic and beryllium. Unsafe handling of radioactive materials seems to be a chronic issue. In 2013, in order to avoid missing a deadline, the lab reportedly cut corners to ship a highly acidic batch of nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. To get it there fast, it mixed the waste with organic kitty litter and a neutralizer, turning it into a highly volatile material akin to a plastic explosive. When it got to Carlsbad it did just that—in 2014 the buried 55-gallon drum exploded underground, exposing 20 workers and shutting the plant for two years. The clean-up cost of at least $1 billon was billed to the American taxpayer.

In 2011, workers were cited for mishandling eight plutonium rods—putting them side-by-side on a table, described as a no-no of epic proportions for its potential to “fission uncontrollably, spontaneously sparking a nuclear chain reaction.” The incident, and others, eventually led to the 2013 shutdown of plutonium handling operations at Los Alamos, known as the PF-4 facility. This, of course, has halted the controversial pit production written about in these pages here and here. It also meant the loss of an estimated $1.36 million in productivity with no end in sight. As the DOE said this year the lab did not “meet expectations” on its safety scorecard and program compliance record. The lab is still not open for full production as a result.

This June, the Center for Public Integrity released a damning report citing chapter and verse all of the safety foibles and bad reviews, including 40 reports by government oversight agencies, teams of safety experts and the lab’s own employees over the last 11 years—all under the Bechtel-led auspices. The Center for Public Integrity says safety is taking a back seat to meeting deadlines set by the private contractors. Others say the contractors have been “chasing lucrative government bonuses tied to those goals.”

But what about cost? The move toward privatization was supposed to save taxpayers money but as the watchdogs point out, it’s done anything but. As theSanta Fe New Mexican reported early this year, the management fee incurred by the government increased from $8 million in 2005 to $80 million by 2010, while the number of upper-level managers making more than $200,000 a year tripled.

Just as bad are the lab’s boondoggles. As TAC reported in 2011, a facility that was supposed to increase pit (the cores of a nuclear weapon) production to 80 pits a year (per congressional mandate) ballooned to $6 billion in projected costs and spent $500 million in the planning phase before it was cancelled amid widespread criticism. That didn’t stop the lab from embarking on a new plan, one that is expected to cost $3 billion despite all of the aforementioned safety problems that already exist and have yet to be fixed.

Lydia Dennett, an investigator with the Project on Government Oversight says she has little confidence a new contractor will do any better after the Bechtel gang leaves town. There are less than two dozen contractors in this field, and they have all worked together in some configuration or another, even on the current contract. The big ones have their lobbyists in Washington to help pull the strings. She points to Lockheed Martin, which got a mere ‘slap on the wrist’ for using federal funds to lobby Washington for no-bid contracts, which is illegal. It still manages the Sandia National Laboratory to the tune of $2.4 billion a year.

“I don’t see any of these concerns changing just because there is a changing of the guard,” she tells TAC. “What needs to happen is the DOE needs to get more engaged in its management and oversight role.” She said the lack of accountability has been appalling, taking nearly a decade before Bechtel was penalized. “They got a lot of leeway and a lot of chances before the government stepped in and said, ‘enough.’ How much are taxpayers paying for before the government says, ‘enough’’’?

Mello points out that without stronger government oversight, a change in the lazy, pass-the-buck culture, and a true ‘free market’ approach that breaks up the small number of contractors’ grip on the industry and makes them truly accountable, the status quo will remain.

“In the absence of such a profound self-examination the only conclusion we can make is that Los Alamos cannot be reformed, it’s just going to be a mess,” he said. “And it will be just a matter of time before there’s more accidents, more project management failures, hundreds if not billions wasted.”

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is managing editor of The American Conservative. Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC

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space cowboys...

While US lawmakers are moving forward with plans to create a "Space Corps" with the announced purpose of battling China and Russia in space; American generals oppose the idea of introducing space units. Russian political analysts review why this idea is so flawed.

American lawmakers are moving forward with plans to create a "Space Corps" to be able to battle Russia and China in space.


"National security space can no longer be treated as a pay-for," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, said this week, as quoted by the US political newspaper The Hill.

"We have very real risks to Russia and China in space, and warfighting has become absolutely dependent on space," he added.

The newspaper reports that the House moved forward with its plans to create a Space Corps this week when it passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

"But the proposal faces a long road before becoming reality. The administration, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, has come out strongly against the idea. And there’s no equivalent proposal in the Senate, meaning the provision could be stripped out before the bill’s final passage," the outlet says.

While the Space Corps sounds like it would deploy a squadron to fight Martians, the new service would be focused on more familiar, terrestrial threats — namely, Russia and China, it explains.

It would be housed under the Department of the Air Force, similar to how the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy.
The corps would have its own budget and its own chief of staff, who would join the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Its duties, as described by the NDAA, would be "protecting the interests of the United States in space; deterring aggression in, from, and through space; providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars; organizing, training, and equipping space forces; and conducting space operations of the Space Corps under the command of the Commander of the United States Space Command."

Under the bill, the service would have to be up and running by January 1, 2019.

"Proponents of the space service argue Russia and China have been outpacing the United States in space. Both countries have conducted anti-satellite missile tests demonstrating their ability to shoot a satellite out of space," the newspaper goes on.

The idea, however, has failed to gain the support of the US military, including Pentagon Chief James Mattis.

The opponents of the latest proposal say that Congress has not done enough due diligence to justify such a big change, The Hill reports. It needs to slow down and require the Pentagon to study the issue before requiring it to reorganize, it quotes Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) as saying.

The White House called the creation of the service "premature at this time." The US Defense Secretary noted that "the creation of an independent Space Corps, with the corresponding institutional growth and budget implications, does not address the specific concerns nor our nation’s fiscal problems in a responsive manner."


Meanwhile, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson commented that "creation of a separate Space Corps at this time would create additional seams between the services, disrupt ongoing efforts to establish a warfighting culture and new capabilities, and require costly duplication of personnel and resources."

Her point of view was supported by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Commenting on the idea, Lieutenant-General Aitech Bizhev, former Deputy Commander of the Air Force for the CIS, called it quite logical and modern. Even though separate Space units have existed in the US for some time, they need to be centralized, he told Russia's online newspaper Vzglyad.

He suggested that the separate command and separate funding will make the management of space forces and its expenditures more effective.


On the other hand, the military expert said, the Pentagon's reasons should not be ignored. The setup of a separate military branch will complicate anything other than a simple structure for the US armed forces, hamper cooperation between the units as well as its management, and reinforce bureaucracy, while Mattis is trying to reorganize and optimize the US army.

Besides, he suggested, Congress might not allocate separate funds for the Corps, but simply re-distribute the funds of the US Air Force, which already lacks the money for the projects proposed by Mattis.

Military analyst Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of Arsenal Otechestva (Arsenal of the Motherland) also considers that the setup of  a separate Corps counter-productive.


"Experience has shown that such an approach is ineffective. Such units can't operate on their own. They will certainly need a ground infrastructure, communication and guidance systems, as well as a logistics system, so they will use the systems of the Air Force," he told Vzglyad.

Murakhovsky noted that the US military are ready to develop space programs without any special units, and therefore suggested that the activity of the Congress might be explained by the active lobbying of aerospace corporations, which advocate the setup of a separate space unit.

With regards to the explanation of Congress that Russia and China might be far ahead in space by having adopted their armed forces to battling the threats coming from space, the experts called it at least strange. Back in 2015, Russia, on the contrary, merged two branches of its armed forces, its Space Troops and Air Forces, into the Aerospace Forces.

Viktor Murakhovsky explained that Russia used to have a separate unit of Space Troops which proved to be ineffective. In such conditions, it should be Mattis and not the authors of the project, who should appeal to Russia's example.


With regards to China, it also has separate space units, as well as the US, however it does not have a separate branch of Space Corps. In 2014, Beijing was discussing the setup of a similar structure, however it has not been implemented so far.  It still remains to be seen whether China has abandoned these plans at all or just postponed them, however it is absolutely inappropriate to refer both to Moscow and Beijing as potential threats, the experts concluded.  

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cash-saving space secrecy...

The United States Air Force (USAF) is preparing their secretive X-37B space plane for its fifth mission in early September. As always, most of the X-37B’s payload and mission is classified, but has reported that the launch may be slated for early September.

The fifth mission of the X-37B, known as Orbital Test Vehicle-5 (OTV-5), is different from previous launches in that the space plane will be carried into orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The previous four X-37B missions arrived in space via a Lockheed Martin-Boeing Atlas V rocket. The Falcon 9 costs about $62 million per launch due to it being partially reusable, compared to the Atlas V's $109 million per launch.

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space bum-fight rules...

Over the past twenty years, three international protocols have been written that lay out the 'rules of war' for naval, air and missile, and cyber warfare.

Now a group of around 40 global experts academics, lawyers and former and serving military commanders  are drafting a Manual of International Law for any future war in outer space.

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on GPS satellites to run everything form the Internet to ATMs  the concern is that any future conflict may target these so-called "space assets".

So draft "rules of engagement" will be ready for government comment in 2019 — more than 35 years after former US President Ronald Reagan dreamed of building a missile defence shield in outer space.

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Read from top... In the 1980s I wrote a si-fi novel based in the 2050s on this very subject... 

spangled-star wars...

We are moving forward with modernization in space, so we’re increasing our lethality in all of our areas of endeavor,” Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson told reporters Thursday. “And we are shifting to space as a warfighting domain.”

In 1967, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Outer Space Treaty which prohibits signatories from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in outer space. The accord, however, stopped short of limiting the deployment of conventional weapons.

Wilson said Congress has proposed to increase the funding of space-related military programs even beyond the levels sought by the Air Force. Section 1605 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 also classifies space as a potential “combat domain.”

It is the policy of the United States to develop, produce, field, and maintain an integrated system of assets in response to the increasingly contested nature of the space operating domain to [among other things] deter or deny an attack on capabilities at every level of orbit in space,” as well as to “defend the territory of the United States, its allies, and its deployed forces across all operating domains,”Section 1605 reads

“Everyone agrees that space needs to be integrated, normalized as a part of a joint warfighting effort. This year’s budget... The FY18 budget proposal increases what the Air Force is proposing to spend on space by 20 percent,” Wilson added.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has made modernizing America’s capabilities in space one of his priorities in his efforts to make US Air Force “more lethal every day.” He earlier called on Congress to pass the NDAA so the Pentagon can “invest in critical warfighting capabilities, including in space.”

“Secretary Mattis has been very clear in his guidance to all the services that we are to go look at how do we increase lethality and readiness,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, sitting next to Wilson, told reporters. “The nation expects its Air Force to own the high ground, the ultimate high ground and achieve space superiority which is like air superiority – freedom to attack and freedom to maneuver.”

Most of America’s space strategy is coordinated from the National Space Defense Center (NSDC) at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. Its experts are already devising potential space fighting scenarios.


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no rules of engagement...


US Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten has noted that there are no rules of engagement when it comes to military conflict in space, but international norms are needed.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten has alleged that China and Russia have reportedly been developing capabilities, including jamming and laser weapons, that can target military assets of the United States, based in space.

"Our adversaries have been watching us ever since the first Gulf War… The Chinese and the Russians, in particular, for the last twenty plus years have been watching what we have been doing and developing capabilities, and they have not been secret about it. They have been… testing weapons, building weapons to operate from the earth in space — jamming weapons, laser weapons, and they have not kept it secret," Hyten said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California as broadcast by CNN.

According to the general, Moscow and Beijing were allegedly building those capabilities to challenge the United States and its allies as well as to "change the balance of power in the world."

Hyten acknowledged that there were currently no rules of engagement when it comes to military conflict in space, adding that international norms were needed.

READ MORE: Deep Space? Pyongyang's ICBM Allegedly Flew 10 Times Higher Than ISS

Russia has repeatedly warned against the militarization of space. As part of their September Xiamen declaration, the leaders of BRICS countries, including China and Russia, have called on world states to carry out the peaceful exploration in outer space and in accordance with international law, stressing that outer space should remain free from any kind of weapons and use of force.

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space. the war beyond earth...

The threat of war in space is no longer just the stuff of science fiction, according to academics who are warning of the inevitability of armed conflict beyond Earth.

Key points:
  • Conflict in outer space not a case of "if" but "when", university dean of law says
  • The legal regime that governs the use of force in space currently unclear
  • US must start to prepare for possibility of armed conflict in outer space, US Air Force secretary says


Leading space and legal experts from Australia, the UK and the United States are collaborating on a new project which aims to improve the understanding of how Earth-bound laws could be applied in times of armed conflict in space.

"Conflict in outer space is not a case of 'if' but 'when'," Melissa de Zwart, the dean of law at the University of Adelaide, said.

"However, the legal regime that governs the use of force and actual armed conflict in outer space is currently very unclear."

Professor de Zwart is among a group of international academics who have begun work on the Woomera Manual, which they hope will become the definitive document on military and security law as it applies to space, when it is completed in 2020.

Rob McLaughlin, a professor of Military and Security Law at UNSW Canberra, said space was a key enabler for communications, surveillance, early warning, and navigation systems, and was therefore a critical security and conflict domain.

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Let's hope it will never happen as it should never happen. 

dominance of space...

US President Donald Trump says he is ordering the establishment of a sixth branch of the military to clear the way for American dominance in space.

Key points:
  • Mr Trump said he wants a 'Space Force' to stop China and Russia' from leading the US
  • But, the international Outer Space Treaty bars the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in space
  • Mr Trump also signed a directive on the management of traffic and debris in space


"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space," Mr Trump said before a meeting of his National Space Council.

"We are going to have the Air Force and we're going to have the 'Space Force.' Separate but equal," he said later.

"It is going to be something. So important."

The United States, however, is a member of the Outer Space Treaty, which bars the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in space and only allows for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.


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The US government is slated to receive one of two batches of Russian-made rocket engines in the second quarter of 2018, according to a leading Russian rocket designer, at nearly the same point when the newly created US Space Force is being established as a new branch of the US armed forces.

The engines are used for delivering heavy payloads to space aboard the Atlas V launch vehicle — which will now presumptively fall under US Space Force, a sixth branch of the US armed forces announced by US President Donald Trump on Monday. "We have the Air Force and we're going to have the Space Force. Separate but equal." The US military's space command was formerly designated under the US Air Force's area of responsibility.

"Currently, the production of commercial engines at Energomash is proceeding in compliance with the contracts signed," said Pyotor Lyvochkin, Chief Developer of Energomash Scientific and Production Association, Zero Hedge reported Sunday. "The dispatch of the first batch of RD-180 and RD-181 engines to the United States is planned for the second quarter of 2018," Lyvochkin noted.

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a waste of space...

Trump announced that he is ordering the creation of a “Space Force” as a new branch of the military. Among other problems with this proposal is that creating a new branch is entirely unnecessary:

But the idea has faced resistance from senior Pentagon officials. Last fall, Rogers and Coopers’ proposal was scrapped after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said it would lead to unnecessary costs and bureaucracy.

“I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions,” Mattis said in October in a memo to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Nothing could be more wasteful and redundant than creating a new branch of the military for space. There is no compelling reason to create a new branch of the military. It would mean expanding an already bloated military budget while breaking apart an existing branch just for the sake of doing it. The idea is already running into resistance...


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space cowboys...

The US is raising hue and cry about a Russian satellite exhibiting what it considers “abnormal” behavior, heavily implying it is a weapon of some sort. However, the US has repeatedly rejected out of hand attempts to prevent a space arms race via an international treaty and is developing its own hypersonic weapons capable of reaching space.

"We are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space apparatus inspector,'" US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Yleem Poblete said Tuesday at a UN conference on disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. "Its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities."

The only certainty we have is that this system has been "placed in orbit,'" the diplomat noted, lamenting, "We don't know for certain what it is, and there is no way to verify it."

What's bizarre is that the US, despite noting that "it is difficult to determine an object's true purpose simply by observing it on orbit" and that "we have no means of differentiating many objects' behaviors from that of a weapon," derives from this lack of information the conclusion that the satellite must be some kind of threat.

Of course, Russia and China have been trying to convince the US and other UN member states to agree to a binding treaty that would head off the imminent space arms race. In 2014, the US rejected the draft Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT).

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stupid moon nuking...

Long before JFK spoke inspiringly of sending humans to the Moon, the American intelligence community was concocting a very different plan.

Landing on the Moon was option B.

Option A was to detonate a nuke on it.

In the late 1950s, Washington set in place a secret operation to examine the feasibility of detonating a thermonuclear device on the surface of our closest celestial neighbour.

It was codenamed Project A119.

Had it gone ahead, the expression "shooting for the Moon" would have gained a whole new meaning.

A spectacular scheme born of desperation

What might now seem unimaginable only makes sense in the context of the Cold War, historian Vince Houghton says.


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Nuking the moon makes as much sense as sending a submarine to Mars, even under "Cold War" context... The Yanks are crazy...


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See also: congratulations on this 50th anniversary... in astronauts should check the meaninglessness of their lives before setting up into a space rocket...

the magnificent flying nukes....

« The flying man bewitches Paris at the 14 July parade » - headlines like that were used to describe France’s military parade along the Champs Élysées. As usual, we were given the impression that we were being informed about everything in the minutest detail.

But « big news » is hiding from us everything that we really need to know. For example, that two days before the parade, President Emmanuel Macron was in the port of Cherbourg to participate in the launching of a nuclear attack submarine, the Suffren, the first vessel in the new Baracuda series, built on a ten-year programme at a cost of 9 billion Euros. The submarine, armed with long-range cruise missiles with both conventional and nuclear capacities, and equipped with a mini-sub for special forces operations, was described by Admiral Christophe Prazuck as a « hunter born to fight our enemies ».

Among the 700 international guests at the launch ceremony was the Australian Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, who had signed a contract to buy 12 French attack submarines. At the moment, in Australia, there are on-going discussions concerning the possibility for the country to leave the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and build its own nuclear arsenal. Australia, a partner of NATO, is opposed to the Treaty, which was approved in July 2017 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with 122 voices for. So far, it has been signed by 70 countries, but ratified only by 23 (including Austria, Cuba, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Venezuela), less than half of the 50 signatures necessary for its implementation.

Sweden, which had approved it in 2017, has announced that it will not sign the Treaty either – a decision behind which can be felt the influence of NATO, the sworn enemy of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

While nuclear disarmament remains on paper, the possibility of proliferation escalates, as does the risk that the arms race will be run increasingly on the qualitative level. This was confirmed by the announcement made, on the eve of the 14 July parade, by President Macron himself – in September, France will create a new National Command for its Military Space Force, with a primary financing of 3,6 billion Euros over 6 years.

« The new space and military doctrine which was proposed to me by the Minister, and which I approved, will enable us to ensure our defence of space and by space » [1], declared President Macron. So the militarisation of space is being intensified, an area of growing strategic importance, given that the main arms systems, beginning with nuclear weapons, depend on spatial systems.

With its new Space Command, France is taking up position in the wake of the United States. In February, President Trump signed a directive inaugurating the US Space Force, a force specifically designed for military operations in space, directed above all against Russia and China. The Senate Armed Services Committee, by handing the command of the new Force to the Aeronautics sector, defined space as a « field for the conduct of warfare ». The meetings announced by the United Nations in March, an attempt to prevent a spatial arms race, failed due to US opposition. The USA refused to join negotiations to discuss the first draft of a Treaty, presented by China and Russia, which would forbid the placing of weapons in space, and stipulates a series of legal limits for using space for military purposes.

While media attention was focused on the « flying man » who sky-danced over the Champs-Élysées, we forgot the fact that in a short time there will be nuclear weapons flying above our heads, in orbit around the Earth.

Manlio Dinucci

Pete Kimberley

Il Manifesto (Italy)


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pushing more than pershings up your back space...

When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space” 
President Donald J. Trump


ESTABLISHING SPACE COMMAND: Today, at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the Secretary of Defense established the United States Space Command to ensure space superiority.

The United States Space Command strengthens our ability to deter conflict and ensure unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in, space. 

United States Space Command will be established as the newest unified combatant command under the Department of Defense and will include forces from all Military Services. 

United States Space Command will consist of military personnel, civilian employees, and contractors. 

The new unified combatant command will accomplish strategic objectives and enhance the capability of our military to protect America’s dominance in space by: 

Employing assigned forces from every branch of the military to achieve vital victories in space. 

Delivering combat power by operating superior space capabilities such as communications, intelligence, navigation, and early missile detection and warning. 

The establishment of United States Space Command represents a crucial step to improving the Nation’s space warfighting structure in our ever evolving world.


PROTECTING AMERICAN INTERESTS: United States space capabilities are critical to the advancement of American interests and the safety of the Nation.


The United States is reliant on space for everything from vital military systems that protect us to widely used consumer systems that benefit our economy. 

We have the strongest military in the world, but failure to act now may allow our adversaries to overcome our competitive advantage by denying us access to the space domain. 

America’s private industry is developing technologies that are rapidly changing the vast economic potential of space. 

Going forward, the United States must have the freedom to take advantage of the untapped opportunities that space presents to our Nation.

PUSHING AMERICA FARTHER: The Trump Administration has prioritized advancement in space capabilities and exploration to protect the Nation and push America farther into the future.


President Trump signed a directive calling for the United States Space Force – a sixth branch of the Armed Forces – to protect America’s national security interests in space. 

The United States Space Force will organize, train, equip, and present forces to United States Space Command and other combatant commands for joint warfighting. 

In 2017, President Trump directed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to go back to the Moon and pursue human exploration of Mars. 

Last year, the President released his National Space Strategy, which recognized our adversaries’ goals that put the United States at risk and charted a path forward to maintain America’s dominance in space. 


President Trump revived the National Space Council to develop modern national space policy.



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pushing for shit-fights in space...

United States Regards Space as Theatre of War - President Putin

The comment comes as leaders of NATO approved the decision to recognise space as 'potential theatre for operations' at a summit that is currently taking place in London.

The military and political apparatus of the United States views space as a theatre of war, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting dedicated to the development of the Russian Navy on Wednesday.

"Russia has always been and will remain opposed to the military use of space," Putin said. "Leading nations of the world are actively developing modern space systems for military use...and the United States, in particular, is openly regarding space as a war theatre."

The Russian president added that the US is planning to conduct military operations in space to maintain its strategic superiority in this domain.

According to Putin, the current situation requires Russia to pay increased attention to strengthening the orbital group, as well as space and rocket industry in general.

He noted that the capabilities of Russia's missile attack warning system had significantly grown, adding that the system promptly detected launches of ballistic missiles.

Putin's comments come as NATO leaders are attending a summit in London dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

US Aspirations in Space 

In 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to set up a Space Force that would operate as the US military’s sixth branch within the Air Force.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump formally set up US Space Command, a separate entity from a Space Force, to help “defend US vital interests in space.” Russia lambasted the move, accusing Washington of militarising outer space.

Former Deputy Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan previously explained that the Space Force will serve as a force provider for personnel, assets, and capabilities supporting space operations, while Space Command will serve as the operational command that will employ space capabilities and lead space operations.

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space camo...


"Why do you need camo in space?"

It's a question some people are asking the United States Space Force after the new military service released an image of its official uniform on social media.

The post on the Space Force's official Twitter account attracted plenty of comments and questions from users who could not see the benefits of standard army woodland camouflage in space.

Walter Shaub, a former director of the US Office of Government Ethics asked: "Have you been to a part of space where this camouflage would blend in?"

Another person asked: "How many trees are you expecting to find in space?", while others pointed out that the appropriate camouflage for space was black.


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not rocket science...

During a recent speech at a prominent US foreign policy think tank, a leading US general noted that the US military could learn a thing or two from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has been able to rapidly advance its weapons programs in spite of sanctions and poverty.

What do Kim Jong Un and Elon Musk have in common? According to the Pentagon’s number 2 general, it's relentless drive to succeed in spite of failures - something Washington could learn from.

“Somehow over the last few years, North Korea has developed a ballistic missile program that can threaten its neighbors and threaten the United States, and a nuclear program that can threaten its neighbors and the United States, and they've done that,” Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman and US Air Force Gen. John Hyten said at a Friday conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank. “They've changed the entire structure of the world - with the 115th most powerful economy in the world.”

“You want to know what's different about North Korea? They learned how to go fast,” Hyten said.

The US Armed Forces’ second-highest ranking officer noted that by comparison, the US military is failure averse, afraid to learn from mistakes.

“If the dictator of North Korea has learned how to accept failure, why can't the United States learn how to accept failure?” Hyten asked. “We need to understand what failure is and learn from those failures. Learn from the mistakes that we made. Move quickly from those mistakes.”


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Rocket technology isn't rocket science... On the scale of knowing, rocket science is relatively easy... Read from top.

cleaning up a 60 years old mess...

U.S. military tests radiation belt cleanup in spaceRadio waves could sweep belts clean of satellite-killing particles after nuclear sneak attackBy Richard Stone

The U.S. military thought it had cleared the decks when, on 9 July 1962, it heaved a 1.4-megaton nuclear bomb some 400 kilometers into space: Orbiting satellites were safely out of range of the blast. But in the months that followed the test, called Starfish Prime, satellites began to wink out one by one, including the world’s first communications satellite, Telstar. There was an unexpected aftereffect: High-energy electrons, shed by radioactive debris and trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, were fritzing out the satellites’ electronics and solar panels.

Starfish Prime and similar Soviet tests might be dismissed as Cold War misadventures, never to be repeated. After all, what nuclear power would want to pollute space with particles that could take out its own satellites, critical for communication, navigation, and surveillance? But military planners fear North Korea might be an exception: It has nuclear weapons but not a single functioning satellite among the thousands now in orbit. They quietly refer to a surprise orbital blast as a potential “Pearl Harbor of space.”

And so, without fanfare, defense scientists are trying to devise a cure. Three space experiments—one now in orbit and two being readied for launch in 2021—aim to gather data on how to drain high-energy electrons trapped by Earth’s magnetic field in radiation belts encircling the planet. The process, called radiation belt remediation (RBR), already happens naturally, when radio waves from deep space or from Earth—our own radio chatter, for example, or emissions from lightning—knock electrons trapped in Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts into the upper atmosphere, where they quickly shed energy, often triggering aurorae.

“Natural precipitation happens all the time,” says Craig Rodger, a space physicist at the University of Otago. But it would not nearly be fast enough to drain nuclearcharged radiation belts, where electron fluxes can be millions of times higher than in Earth’s Van Allen belts.

Scientists got a glimpse of a potential solution from NASA’s Van Allen Probes, which launched in 2012 and ducked in and out of Earth’s radiation belts until the mission ended last summer. It offered a deep dive into natural remediation processes, showing how radio waves resonate with high-energy electrons, scattering them down the magnetic field lines and sweeping them out of the belts. “Compared to 10 years ago, we just know so much more about how these wave-particle interactions work,” says Geoff Reeves, a space physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Now, researchers are ready to try artificial remediation, by beaming radio waves into the belts. Physicists have tested using the U.S. Navy’s very low frequency (VLF) antenna towers, powerful facilities used to communicate with submarines, says Dan Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a lead investigator on the Van Allen Probes. The antennae of the Highfrequency Active Auroral Research Program in Alaska and the giant dish of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico might also be enlisted to generate cleansing radio beams.

An orbiting RBR platform, closer to the target, could be more effective. In June 2019, the U.S. Air Force launched what it bills as the largest uncrewed structure ever flown in space: the DSX dipole antenna. Nearly as long as a U.S. football field, DSX’s primary mission is to transmit VLF waves into the Van Allen belts and measure precipitating particles with onboard detectors. “It’s a new way to prod the belts and explore basic questions in space physics,” says DSX’s principal investigator, James McCollough at the Air Force Research Laboratory.


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Science  03 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6473, pp. 9-10



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US/russian space crap...

Last month, a Purdue University graduate student specializing in astrodynamics reported that Russia’s Kosmos-2542 satellite had begun shadowing USA-245, an American reconnaissance satellite. Kosmos-2542’s mystery mission quickly sparked hysteria among the US media, with some observers suggesting it could be preparing to “attack” its US counterpart.

Russian and Chinese satellites maneuvering near Western powers’ satellites in space are a threat to the NATO alliance, Allied Command Transformation Commander Gen. Andre Lanata has said.

“Of course, it is a threat to our allies,” Lanata said, speaking to The Washington Examiner. “Until now, space was considered by everybody as a safe haven. It’s not the case anymore,” he added.


According to the commander, the danger posed by Russia and China in this area is “a key question,” and NATO “need[s] to be sure that we give to our forces this space asset support.” Lanata clarified that NATO as an organization would not “own any space assets,” and that it was not the bloc’s responsibility “to take specific measures to protect such or such national assets.” The problem will have to be addressed by the bloc’s individual members, he indicated.

Recently, US media have reported on the activities of Russian inspector satellite Kosmos-2542, indicating that the satellite was stalking USA-245, a spy satellite used by American intelligence agencies. According to amateur satellite observer and Purdue graduate student Michael Thompson, the Russian spacecraft has come to within 150 and 300 km of its US counterpart, and viewed it from various angles. The researcher avoided jumping to any conclusions, saying that although Kosmos-2542’s behaviour might seem suspicious, he could not prove any malign intent.

However, US media rushed to alarming conclusions, suggesting the Russian satellite’s behaviour may be “some kind of preparation for an attack,” and that Kosmos-2542 may actually be a “killer satellite” getting ready to ram or shoot lasers at USA-245.

Kosmos-2542 was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in November 2019, with the stated mission of inspecting the condition of other Russian satellites orbiting the planet.

Last month, observers reported that the Kosmos-2491, another Russian satellite capable of maneuvering and inspecting other satellites in orbit, appeared to have broken up. Amateur observers suggested that that satellite, believed to have been dead for several years, may have deliberately self-destructed.

Russia isn’t the only country thought to engage in clandestine inspections of foreign satellites in orbit. In 2019, the Secure World Foundation reported that the US used its own secretive ‘Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program’ to approach and inspect Russian, Chinese, Pakistani and Nigerian satellites, both civilian and military.


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"Until now, space was considered by everybody as a safe haven. It’s not the case anymore...?" What drug is Allied Command Transformation Commander Gen. Andre Lanata on? Space was "never" considered as a safe haven "by everybody"... Read from top.


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not fighting like mandalorians...

Armed conflict in space is unlikely to look like it does in The Mandalorian.

But with the United States creating its Space Force and India testing anti-satellite weapons, a real-life space battle is more possible than ever.

An international project is trying to establish what the rules of engagement of that battle would be.

That project is called the Woomera Manual.

What is the Woomera Manual?

It's a document that clearly lays out what international law says is — and isn't — allowed when it comes to military action in space.

It's not a new law, nor is it a proposal for new laws.

"We are not lawmakers, we are not authorised or able to create international law," Melissa de Zwart, Dean of Law at University of Adelaide and one of the directors of the project, tells RN's Future Tense.

"We are merely articulating what that law is."

It's not a new idea. There are similar manuals such as the Tallinn Manual (which covers cyber operations), the Harvard Manual (on air and missile warfare) and the San Remo Manual (which relates to conflict at sea).

These manuals tend to be laid out in dot points, and are designed to be as clear and unambiguous as possible.

"The point of these manuals is to give clarity about the application of the law," Professor de Zwart says.

The idea is that if there's a rulebook that countries agree on, then conflict becomes less likely — much like having an agreed set of sporting rules makes it less likely for a fight to break out onfield.

"This will contribute, we hope, to international peace and security by giving a common understanding of what the applicable law is," Professor de Zwart says.

Why is it needed?

The main reason, Professor de Zwart says, is that space law is complicated.

There are five different United Nations treaties on outer space, and then there are various declarations and legal principles to be taken into consideration.

We're already testing the limits of space law. For example, international space treaties don't explicitly cover privately-owned rockets and satellites.

"It was only contemplated by the original treaties that it would be nation-states who would have the money [and] the capacity to launch something into outer space," Professor de Zwart says.

Also, the physics of space means some actions can have far-reaching consequences. 

For example, India's anti-satellite weapon test was condemned by NASA because, they said, debris from the explosion put residents of the International Space Station at risk.

Professor de Zwart says the Woomera Manual is "designed for use by non-lawyers". For example, it could be used in military training, or to guide government decisions in the heat of the moment.

Go deeper: Read about how private enterprise is fuelling a new space race, increasing the likelihood of an accident that could trigger a catastrophe in space and calamity back on Earth.

Who is involved?

A lot of people. There are team members from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and China, and Woomera Manual meetings have been held around the world.



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sergeant bilko goes into orbit...

The Unites States Space Force (USSF) may sound like a solution in search of a problem, and has come in for much lampoonery. But it manages several small yet important operations hived off from the US Air Force and the Strategic Command.

US President Joe Biden's mouthpiece put her foot in it when she mocked the US Space Force, but is it more than just a Star Wars science fiction boondoggle?

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki surprised few pundits on Tuesday when she was unable to answer a journalist's question on whether the new administration would keep the separate military arm founded under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump.

"Wow, Space Force. It’s the plane of today", Psaki sarcastically jibed, before admitting she would have "check with our Space Force point of contact," lamely adding: "I’m not sure who that is."

Psaki finally came back with the answer on Wednesday, saying USSF personnel "absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration" which had no plans to abolished it — and anyway, that would be up to Congress. 

But the USSF's commander Chief of Space Operations General Jay Raymond was also kind of vague on what his command actually does when trying to explain it to a journalist on Wednesday.

"Space doesn’t have a mother. You can’t reach out and hug a satellite, you can’t see it, you can’t touch it. It’s hard to have that connection if it’s 22,300 miles above your head,” Raymond said. "But there is a very, very, very strong connection between those capabilities and our way of life."

Raymond admitted he had trouble explaining what he does to his own mother recently after she saw a TV report on the force. "I’m like, ‘Mom, that’s kind of what I do!' It’s just hard to understand," he said.

Space, the Final Frontier for Federal Spending

Trump's announcement of an independent force for space-based warfare — nominally separate the US Air Force — drew ridicule from his usual critics. Certainly its insignia looks like a cross between the Starfleet badge from Star Trek and that emblazoned on the chests of classic Lego astronauts.

But in fact the USSF had been in the pipeline with bipartisan support for years before it was separated in 2019 from the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the multi-service force in charge of fighting a nuclear war.

The USSF annual funding is $15.5 billion — a fortune to some, but a trifling 0.02 per cent of the total US defence budget. It has 16,000 personnel, respectable for a private corporation but only about a third of the US Coast Guard's strength, and less than a tenth of the 180,000 US Marine Corps.

The space force has clear origins within the USAF, which still runs about three-quarters of its support services. A total of 23 USAF units were hived off into the new service when it was created. The USSF's two major bases are at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Patrick Space Force Base in Florida — part of the famous Cape Canaveral space launch complex, from where it runs "spacelift operations".

Star Wars or Star Bores?

The USSF is not actually equipped to fight battles in space, belying the fanciful promises of former president Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" Strategic Defence initiative. 

We do not want war in space,” says spokesman Colonel Matt Anderson. “We are trying to deter any conflict in space. However, if deterrence fails the United States needs to be in position to defend the American way of life, which depends on space every day.”

It's most exciting role is in early warning of attacks, using both ground stations and satellites to detect incoming missiles. USSF second-in-command General David Thompson claimed the force gave vital prior warning of the Iranian ballistic missile attack on US forces at the Ayn al-Asad Air Base in Iraq in January 20230. But then-Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said at the time that Tehran warned Baghdad hours in advance of the strike.

The space force also manages the US constellation of some 35 GPS navigation satellites — so now you know who to blame when your car sat-nav sends you down the wrong road.

GPS was developed by the Pentagon to guide both vehicles and weapons like the Joint Direct Attack Munition GPS-guided glide bomb, but the signal can be jammed locally with inexpensive electronics. The satellites are also vulnerable to interception missiles launched from the ground or high-flying fighter planes like the Mikoyan MiG-31.

“It’s no secret that Russia and China have made extreme gains in the last couple decades and they have actually shown the ability to threaten some of our assets in space,” says Anderson. Ostensibly to deter such efforts, the USSF has a series of ground-based stations to jam signals from other nation's satellites.

Finally, the USSF uses its powerful ground-based radar installations to track the roughly 26,000 pieces of orbital "space junk" that present a hazard to satellites, manned spacecraft and the International Space Station (ISS).



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well-known for an endless list of foot-in-mouth gaffes...

space junkyard...


China has slammed comments made by NASA in which it accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible standards” over space debris, reminding the US of ‘romantic’ media reporting of a SpaceX rocket that fell on a farm in March. 

Speaking on Monday during a regular press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed NASA's comments that China wasn’t fulfilling its duty to “act responsibly and transparently in space.” 

The spokeswoman said that Beijing is displeased by the double standards on the reporting of space exploration, noting the hysteria around the potential harm caused by the re-entry of China's Long March 5B rocket over the weekend.

"I also want to say that some American media and some people obviously have double standards on this issue. We may all remember that, in March of this year, when a rocket in the US fell on a farm, American media used romantic words like ‘shooting stars across to light up the night sky’ and ‘dazzling light show,’”she stated.

In late March, a pressure vessel from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fell on a man’s farm in Washington state, causing a “four-inch dent in the soil.”


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asteroid junk...


The spacecraft is expected to approach the Earth in September 2023 and jettison the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) toward our planet for a parachute-assisted landing in the US state of Utah.


Tune in to Sputnik to watch the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft, which scooped and stowed a two ounce sample from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020, begin its journey back to Earth.


The spacecraft touched down on the asteroid surface on 20 October. The spacecraft is expected back on Earth in September 2023, with material from deep space that scientists hope will expand knowledge of the universe and provide clues on how the solar system was formed.


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nuke from space?...


Here’s why the US isn’t going to nuke anyone from orbit anytime soon


Low-orbit space planes have been named as a possible carrier of American nuclear warheads. While theoretically possible, at current technology levels such weapons would be significantly more trouble than they are worth. 

According to the director-general of Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey, Yan Novikov, the US has orbital bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Variants of the Boeing X-37 orbital test vehicle, launched in 2010 and officially used for scientific purposes, can theoretically carry up to six warheads, Novikov claimed during a virtual educational forum in Russia in May.

In the words of Kyle Mizokami, who wrote an article on this for Popular Mechanics, “this isn’t even a good idea”. While Mizokami’s take is titled “Don’t believe Russia”, and its main thrust is apparently that Mr. Novikov is hyping up the US orbital nukes threat to boost the sales of Almaz-Antey’s surface-to-space missiles, he does have some good points that explain why the dangers of orbital bombing are more than a little exaggerated.

First off, putting nukes on an X-37 to then launch them from orbit will require extensive modification to the weapons, which will only allow two or, at best, three, to be taken on board – not nearly enough for an effective surprise attack. And to carry an element of surprise, it would have to approach Russia from a very specific direction to avoid the radars of early-warning systems – and even so, it won’t be able to hide from visual detection.

Aside from the lack of surprise, there is a long list of problems associated with space planes carrying nuclear payloads.

“The idea of placing strategic nuclear weapons in low Earth orbit isn't new. It emerged with the first successful launches of the Earth's artificial satellites,” ex-chief of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces, Honored Military Pilot, Colonel-General of Aviation Igor Maltsev says. 

According to him, for a number of reasons, space projects like this never went beyond concept or, at best, preliminary design. Why was that the case?

Technically, the goal of putting these weapons in space is achievable, says Igor Maltsev. Anything can be launched to space. But when the idea is to create a strategic weapons system in orbit, there are a number of challenges that have, so far, prevented any significant progress along these lines.

The issues include, primarily, the effectiveness of this weapon and its control efficiency. A surface-to-air intercontinental missile can be launched at any time and can hit any pre-selected target. All you have to do is press a button and the missile is off on its way to hit the target, in accordance with the preset flight mission. However, a space missile system is dynamic, it’s always in motion. 

You can’t set it on target in advance, Igor Maltsev explains. Since the system is dynamic, it needs to be constantly adjusted to hit the right target, as it moves. If there’s no adjustment, the space bomber can still launch its warhead to hit a pre-selected target, but only from a particular point in space.

“The need for such a dynamic control system is the main obstacle to placing nuclear weapons in orbit,”says Col. Gen. Maltsev.

Say a satellite was designed to hit Moscow. The operator pushes the launch button, but the space vehicle is still very far away, as it’s constantly moving at a speed of 28,000kmh. 

The second problem is the target accuracy of a nuclear warhead. It will no doubt be inferior to that of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. There are plenty of examples when returning space crews landed in Siberia instead of Kazakhstan, Col. Gen. Maltsev points out.

To sum it up, there are problems related to orbital nuclear weapon control systems that are hindering progress and preventing space militarization. “I don’t see how these problems can be addressed in the foreseeable future. Dynamic systems are very sophisticated and expensive. They are going to be a dozen, a hundred or even a thousand times more expensive than similar weapons currently used by Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces,” explains Col. Gen. Maltsev.

Another important consideration is the sustainability and safety of nuclear weapons deployed in space. While the warhead of an intercontinental ballistic missile is stored in a special well-protected missile silo, a space vehicle can easily be approached and tampered with. It can be brought out of operation by a number of means, including an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse.

“As for maneuverable reentry vehicles and hypersonic glide vehicles employed by the Russian Armed Forces, they are only used in ground-based missile systems, their flight missions and trajectories set in advance, and their flight progresses strictly according to the mission objective. This accounts for the high target accuracy of these weapons, compared to hypothetical space-based systems,” explains ex-deputy head of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Valery Zaparenko.

“As for detection and escort of space bombers by Russia’s Space Missile Defense capabilities, I can say that the Don 2N passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar is able to detect a spherical object with a diameter of 5cm from a distance of 1,000km. An object the size of an Х-37В space vehicle will be detected by a Voronezh-type early-warning radar from a distance of several thousand kilometers. All previous flight missions of this vehicle have been registered by the Russian Space Forces’ equipment. So there is no chance that this so-called space bomber can succeed in approaching any defended Russian target unobserved,” adds Lt. Gen. Zaparenko.

And Russia will retaliate with a nuclear strike of its own anyway.

It will be carried out both by the aerospace defense system and the so-called Dead Hand. The Perimeter system (or rather, its modern iteration) will accomplish a full-scale retaliatory nuclear strike even if the Russian government and the military are crippled or completely paralyzed.

At this point, we can only speculate about how Russia’s Dead Hand operates, since there is no factual data on it. There is reason to believe that it consists of command posts, command ballistic missiles, receivers and an autonomous command and control system. All these terms are largely provisional.

After the system approves the use of strategic nuclear weapons (this process is fully automatic), it sends out a command rocket or rockets with a special warhead that transmits a launch command to all the nuclear delivery vehicles with corresponding receivers. ICBMs and SLBMs are then launched automatically.

The Perimeter system makes its decision based on data from numerous sensors installed across the country that monitor seismic and radiological activity, as well as atmospheric pressure, for signs of nuclear blasts. Even in times of peace, this system can determine where in the world a nuclear device went off with an almost 100% accuracy.

Still, the description above is very general and not that close to how the Dead Hand operates in reality.

So in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether or not the US is going to have nuclear space bombers, because a devastating retaliatory strike will be carried out no matter what.


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close encounter…

China demands US reins in SpaceX after satellite incident



Beijing urges Washington to take “prompt measures” to avert potential collisions between China’s space station and SpaceX satellites 

The Chinese government has demanded that US officials act to prevent mishaps in orbit after Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites nearly crashed into Beijing’s new space station. It accuses Washington of recklessness and hypocrisy.

Asked about the near-collisions with the China Space Station (CSS) between July and October, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian confirmed that his country had lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations. He called on the US to take swift action to preempt accidents going forward.

“The US claims to be a strong advocate of the concept of ‘responsible behavior in outer space,’ but it disregarded its treaty obligations and posed a grave threat to the safety of [Chinese] astronauts. This is a typical double standard,” Zhao said during a press conference, referring to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forms the backbone of international law in space.

The spokesman argued that Washington should pursue “prompt measures to prevent such incidents from recurring,” and to “act responsibly to safeguard in-orbit astronauts and the safe and steady operation of space facilities.”






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