The Space Force

Not the Netflix sit-com…the real life Space Force that will take the US military into the next century.

Our very first Space Force LTs have graduated….

Eighty-six graduates from the United States Air Force Academy celebrated receiving their diplomas April 18 and moved directly into the U.S. Space Force, marking the first infusion of commissioned personnel into the new service since its creation last year.

“As our nation’s first Space Force lieutenants, these leaders will defend democracy and protect the ultimate high ground of space,” said Barrett. “As they depart the Academy today, they will join the ranks of air and space power pioneers. They will be instrumental in building a lean, agile and forward-looking Space Force defending our nation, our allies and our American interests in space.”

While approximately 16,000 military and civilians from the former Air Force Space Command are now assigned to the Space Force, the arrival of these newest officers signals that the new service is taking a significant step toward filling its ranks.

The 86 newest members of the Space Force will fill a variety of roles, the majority of whom are assigned to the space operations career field and will be moving to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to begin undergraduate space training. The remaining members are assigned to a variety of career fields, such as cyberspace operations, intelligence, developmental engineer and acquisitions manager, and will go to their respective initial skills training locations across the country. Upon completion of training, all 86 will be assigned to a Space Force unit.

Question!

If they are educated by the Air Force and the Air Force already has a Space Command….why do we need a separate Space Force?

A few more questions about our newest military…..Is the Space Force built for war?

If I were a Russian or Chinese space warfare theorist, thinking about a future war with the United States, it might be reasonable to bet that the newly-minted U.S. Space Force was planning for a kinetic space conflict, starting on Day 1.

Understandably, the Space Force keeps a tight lid on broader discussions of its capabilities. There isn’t a lot of direct information one way or another. Without a clear understanding of what the U.S. can do, an analyst might start trying to figure out U.S. intentions.

The culture of the Space Force might still be unformed and changing; it does bear at least a family resemblance to its sister services in at least one significant respect. In the services, the purveyors of kinetic mayhem — the shooters and the killers — tend to be culturally dominant within their respective services. The Space Force has been no exception to this.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/16/us_space_force_built_for_war_580985.html

To me this Space Force sounds more like an invasion and occupation force….more so than some vague defense force.

WE even have an orbiting drone just for the future of war.

The fledgling U.S. Space Force’s Space Delta 9 is tasked with performing a mission set that the service describes as orbital warfare. This includes keeping an eye out for potentially hostile activity in space, as well as deterring those threats and even potentially defeating them, according to the unit’s official website. Publicly, it provides this support primarily through various space-based surveillance and communications systems, but, interestingly, it is also responsible for overseeing the operations of the experimental X-37B mini space shuttle, the exact mission and capabilities of which remain obscure.

Space Force highlighted the intriguing orbital warfare mission of Space Delta 9, as part of the larger array of capabilities within its new Space Operations Command (SpOC), in a Tweet earlier this week. The unit had first come into existence in July and had previously been known as the Air Force’s 750th Operations Group, which had only been activated and assigned to that service’s 50th Space Wing the month before. 50th Space Wing, headquartered at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, was also transferred to the newest branch of America’s armed forces that month, at which time it was rebranded as the Peterson-Schriever Garrison.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/37361/space-force-has-a-unit-dedicated-to-orbital-warfare-that-now-operates-the-x-37b-spaceplane

When and we will engage in space battles in the future…what will they be like?

As countries around the world continue to militarize space, experts are beginning to envision what an actual off-world clash might look like.

Unfortunately, dogfights among spacecraft zipping around like in Star Wars are out, Ars Technica reports. Rather, according to a new report published by the Aerospace Corporation, space battle is likely to be way slower, more deliberate, and even a little clunky.

The challenge, the report says, is that space operations need to be planned well in advance. And once a satellite is in orbit, it can’t just change direction or careen around like a fighter plane. That makes the likelihood of a spontaneous skirmish in space much less likely than on Earth.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/experts-actual-space-battles

Last year after the announcement of the creation of the Space Force I wrote and asked the question….Do we need a Space Force?

https://lobotero.com/2019/12/24/does-america-need-a-space-force/

Could the US Space Force be the prelude to the establishment of a Space Empire?

It’s easy to get swept up by the tide of excitement for space exploration and perhaps someday even settling on another world — just think about what a moment of national pride each “first” was during the Cold War-era Space Race.

But that excitement, taken too far into fanaticism, could give rise to a disastrous future in which space is controlled by a totalitarian empire, warns Johns Hopkins University political scientist Daniel Deudney. In a review of Deudney’s new book about those concerns, University of Leicester international relations lecturer Bleddyn Bowen argues that Deudney might be a touch pessimistic — but makes a compelling case that space exploration poses several oft-overlooked threats to our future.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/johns-hopkins-professor-warns-totalitarian-military-space-empire

And you thought the Galactic Empire of Star Wars was fiction.

These are all questions and issues that future international relations people will have to face in the near future…..best not ignore them now or they will bite you in the ass soon rather than later.

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Space

Now that we have a president-elect I will return to my usual FYI postings on the weekends….you may thank me later…..

Let’s start with space stuff!

The new interest in space especially by some of those wealthy dudes that see space as the next frontier they can exploit has more and more news …..and as an opinionated SOB good fodder for IST posts.

The planet that cannot exist!

As Earth telescopes scan the stars for planets that may support life, they also find plenty of things that leave astronomers scratching their heads. Researchers say a planet they call a “hot Neptune” falls right into the head-scratching category. Not only does this scolding hot world travel around its sun in less than a day, it has an atmosphere that “shouldn’t exist.”

University of Kansas astronomer Ian Crossfield says new data from NASA’s TESS and Spitzer space telescopes is providing the first look at an exoplanet’s atmosphere the satellites captured. Planet LTT 9779b, which sits about 260 light-years from Earth and is so close to its home star it doesn’t have ground for a probe to land on.

https://www.studyfinds.org/astronomers-find-hot-neptune-with-atmosphere-that-shouldnt-exist/

Not to worry for water has been found on the Moon….

The moon is littered with patches of hidden water, NASA researchers have discovered.

That’s great news for the agency’s plans to send astronauts back to the moon, set up a permanent base there, and eventually use it as a stopping point on the way to Mars.

Those ambitions hinge on the ability to mine water ice on the moon and break it down into oxygen and hydrogen to make rocket fuel. Since it’s extremely expensive and difficult to launch enough fuel off Earth to get astronauts to Mars, water on the moon is likely to play a critical role in kick-starting a new era of human deep-space exploration.

https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-scientists-discover-moons-hidden-water-stores-2020-10

Is someone or thing watching us?

New research suggests if life exists in space, then aliens on 1004 neighbouring stars could be watching us from afar.
Astronomers in the US have issued a paper theorising some exoplanets, which are planets orbiting stars outside our solar system, may have a direct line of sight to observe chemical reactions in the Earth’s atmosphere.
“If observers were out there searching, they would be able to see signs of a biosphere in the atmosphere of our Pale Blue Dot,” Lisa Kaltenegger, a Cornell University astronomer and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
Over the last decade, astronomers have discovered 4292 exoplanets orbiting 3185 stars by maintaining a close eye on a host star and waiting for it to dim.
The dimming suggests a planet has passed through the space between the telescope and the star.
By analysing the way the light dims, the chemical contents of the planet’s atmosphere can be deciphered and life may be detected based on those chemicals reactions
 
NASA has landed on an asteroid and is taking samples to return to Earth for analysis…….but there is a slight problem….it sucked up too much sample….
A NASA spacecraft is stuffed with so much asteroid rubble from this week’s grab that it’s jammed open and precious particles are drifting away in space, scientists said Friday. Scientists announced the news three days after the spacecraft named Osiris-Rex briefly touched asteroid Bennu, NASA’s first attempt at such a mission, the AP reports. The mission’s lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, said Tuesday’s operation 200 million miles away collected far more material than expected for return to Earth—in the hundreds of grams. The sample container on the end of the robot arm penetrated so deeply into the asteroid and with such force, however, that rocks got sucked in and became wedged around the rim of the lid.
 
Scientists estimate the sampler pressed as much as 19 inches into the rough, crumbly, black terrain. “We’re almost a victim of our own success here,” Lauretta said at a hastily arranged news conference. Lauretta said there is nothing flight controllers can do to clear the obstructions and prevent more bits of Bennu from escaping, other than to get the samples into their return capsule as soon as possible. So, the flight team was scrambling to put the sample container into the capsule as early as Tuesday—much sooner than originally planned—for the long trip home. “Time is of the essence,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of NASA’s science missions. The samples won’t make it back until 2023, seven years after the spacecraft rocketed away from Cape Canaveral.
We Americans seem to do everything in excess and I guess space samples are no different.
 
NASA and the Europeans have finalized a deal for an orbital Lunar station…..

NASA announced that it’s formally partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the Gateway, the space station it plans to launch into orbit around the Moon.

Moving forward, the Gateway station — which is meant to allow long-term lunar exploration by serving as a middle ground between space and the lunar surface — will be an international venture, according to a NASA press release. And after helping establish a human presence on and around the Moon, tantalizingly, the joint project could help both NASA and the ESA eventually reach Mars.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/nasa-europe-officially-sign-deal-build-orbital-moon-base

Did you ever wonder why there are so many determined to go to space (corporations that is)?

One meteor could be worth $10,000 quadrillion….you read that right that right…..quadrillion.

Somewhere between Mars and Jupiter is a potato-shaped space rock possibly worth way more than the entire economy of Earth. Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis discovered the Massachusetts-sized asteroid known as 16 Psyche lurking in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 1852, per Fox News. New observations courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that unlike most other asteroids, which are made of rock or ice, this 140-mile-wide asteroid is made almost entirely of metal—specifically, iron and nickel—and worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion. You need 19 zeros to write that number out in full. More important to scientists, however, are the possible clues to the origin of the universe that may lay hidden in its folds, some 230 million miles from Earth.

It’s thought that the asteroid is a protoplanet, or an incomplete planet, that could reveal the “building blocks” of the solar system, says Tracy Becker of the Southwest Research Institute, lead author of a study published in the Planetary Science Journal. It’s possible that an early planet as large as Mars “was struck by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust,” leaving only the metal core behind, she adds. “Once we get to Psyche, we’re really going to understand if that’s the case.” NASA plans to launch a spacecraft to the asteroid in August 2022, with arrival scheduled for January 2026. The orbiter, dubbed Psyche, will spend two years investigating the asteroid, per CBS News. A project scientist previously told the outlet that there are no plans to use its material for industry. Indeed, USA Today reports NASA “lacks the technology to mine it.”

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The Day After

First the celebrations and the taunting have begun and will continue…

As soon as the news buzzed on their phones, Americans gathered spontaneously on street corners and front lawns—honking their horns, banging pots and pans, starting impromptu dance parties—as an agonizingly vitriolic election and exhausting four-day wait for results came to an end Saturday morning. And for all that joy, there was equal parts sorrow, anger, and mistrust on the other side, the AP reports. Among the reactions:

Just after the AP and other news organizations declared that Joe Biden beat President Trump, fireworks erupted in Atlanta. In Maine, a band playing at a farmers’ market broke into the Battle Hymn of the Republic. In Louisville, Kentucky, Biden supporters gathered on their lawns to toast with champagne. A crowd gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House to celebrate Biden’s win, NBC Washington reports. “Bye bye, Donald Trump,” a woman said over and over in a megaphone. People chanted “Black lives matter” and sang “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye.” In Manhattan, they danced in the streets, banged cowbells, and honked their car horns. In Brooklyn, they chanted “the nightmare is over.” Lola Faleit, a 26-year-old human resources manager in New York City, said that “It’s surreal, I feel like I’m free from the clutches of evil. I feel less worried for my immigrant friends. In 2016, we woke up crying. Today we are celebrating.” Trump’s supporters have for days been protesting outside of ballot-counting operations, alleging without evidence that the slow-moving results were proof of cheating. “This isn’t over! This isn’t over! Fake news!” some of Trump’s supporters shouted as they gathered at the Georgia State Capitol after news organizations’ decision to call the election.

Some 75 Trump-supporting protesters had gathered Saturday morning outside the election tabulation center in downtown Phoenix, where the counting remains underway. Shortly after the news broke, Jake Angeli yelled, “This election has not been called! … They got their hands caught in the cookie jar and we’re going to the Supreme Court!” Trump activists were assembling in state capitols and calling for peaceful protests, the Washington Post reports. The rallies were in support of “Stop the Steal,” a group that got booted from Facebook for inciting violence and promoting misinformation.

We have our president-elect and now the real circus will begin….this should keep the media and pundits in lunch money for a couple of weeks….

Now that the AP has declared Joe Biden the next US president, what happens? And can President Trump, who is refusing to concede, take this to the Supreme Court? The Wall Street Journal offers a guide: First, states will let campaigns seek recounts or will conduct them on their own (looks like they’ll happen in Wisconsin and Georgia). Then states will choose their electors by Dec. 8 based on which presidential candidate won the popular vote. Finally, electors gather and vote in their state capitals on Dec. 14. A new US Congress will count the votes on Jan. 5, and the new president takes the oath of office on Jan. 20. But there are caveats and questions:

  • Electors: For over a century, states have based their electors on the popular presidential vote—but what if they don’t? The Washington Post notes that states could change their rules, but doing so after Election Day would violate federal law. That battle could go to the courts and end up in the Supreme Court, where a 6-3 conservative majority would make its ruling.
  • Electors, Pt. 2: Trump allies (like Sen. Lindsey Graham) say state lawmakers could cancel election results if they see possible fraud, and choose pro-Trump electors instead. But in Pennsylvania, the state’s Senate and House majority leaders wrote an op-ed saying the legislature has no role “in choosing the state’s presidential electors or in deciding the outcome of the presidential election.”
  • Lawsuits: Republicans and Trump’s campaign have filed a few lawsuits, but the AP reports that “most are small-scale” and “do not appear to affect many votes.” Judges in Michigan and Georgia have already dismissed two of the suits. One case at the Supreme Court could exclude ballots that arrived in Pennsylvania after Election Day, but it seems there weren’t very many.
  • ‘High hurdle’: Trump “would have to show that [state] rules are being violated in a very specific way that cause his campaign harm, and that’s a really high hurdle,” a professor at the London School of Economics tells the Huffington Post. “There’s very, very little historical evidence of fraudulent activity in US elections.”
  • John Roberts: The AP adds that Chief Justice John Roberts, who tries to keep the high court away from messy politics, “is not likely to want the election to come down to himself and his colleagues.”
  • The ‘faithless’: The Journal notes that individual electors could simply switch sides—it’s happened before. But 33 states have “faithless elector” laws that would invalidate at least some of those votes.
  • If Trump won’t go on Jan. 20: “Donald Trump as the outgoing president has a contingent of Secret Service,” Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro tells LiveScience. “Biden goes to the White House and the Secret Service escorts Trump out. That’s what happens.”
  • Codenames: The BBC looks at words we’ll “hear a lot of,” like president-elect, cabinet, and confirmation hearing. More interesting: Biden’s codename with the Secret Service is “Celtic,” and Kamala Harris apparently picked “Pioneer.”

I will return to posting my usual stuff……politics will get more boring as the days roll by…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”