SpaceX and other commercial companies have talked about launching thousands of satellites for massive global internet networks. The US military will not be left behind in the shift from a few big satellites to thousands of more effective smaller satellites.
SpaceX’s president and CEO (Gwynn Shotwell) says SpaceX would consider launching weapons into orbit for the U.S. government, if asked.
The US military (Undersecretary Michael Griffin) has talked about spending $20 billion for a network of a thousand hypersonic missile interceptors. $20 billion is just the low ball bait. Even if an initial system went up for that price or less, they will rapidly increase the scope and scale.
DARPA is developing the basic technology for a lot more small space satellites.
Currently military space spending is twice as much as NASA and military launch revenue is more than commercial launch revenue.
There will be thousands of commercial satellites and launches and the military satellites and launches will keep pace.
An analysis by Bloomberg Government found that the Defense Department spends about $4 billion a year on space vehicles, launches, services and associated support. Boeing and Lockheed’s United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin individually and a California-based nonprofit research center called the Aerospace Corporation get the most money. SpaceX is currently the fourth-largest recipient of Defense space funding and spending.
SpaceX should have the SpaceX BFR ready around 2023
SpaceX will have its fully reusable SpaceX BFR ready around 2023. They need $2 to 10 billion to develop it. There will be sufficient support from the US military to ensure that SpaceX BFR is developed.
DARPA Blackjack low-earth orbit satellite network
Mr. Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Program Manager, DARPA Tactical Technology Office presented at the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group Telecon. He described the “DARPA Blackjack Demo Program – Pivot to LEO & Tactical Space Architecture”. This would be 90+ low-earth orbit spy satellites. DARPA plans a 20 satellite demo and then full deployment could start in 2022.
Many low-earth orbit spy satellites would be tougher for Russia and China to take out. A constellation of low-earth orbit spy satellites could be less expensive and more powerful than a single larger geosynchronous satellite.