SpaceX would support space weapons race

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.

Interceptors

65 thoughts on “SpaceX would support space weapons race”

  1. If this go forward, LEO will be busy, busy, busy! I hope they have a plan for decommissioning those at the end of their operational lifetime, or we’ll have some difficulty with Kessler syndrome much sooner than predicted…

    Reply
  2. If this go forward LEO will be busy busy busy! I hope they have a plan for decommissioning those at the end of their operational lifetime or we’ll have some difficulty with Kessler syndrome much sooner than predicted…

    Reply
  3. I mean…. if you didn’t make altitude adjustments, you’d lose your orbit in a few years, sure. But you’re going to make attitude adjustments so you can… keep doing your mission… So you still need a de-orbit plan. It’s required by NASA anyway. You have to have a de-orbit plan and a propellant budget showing you can make it.

    Reply
  4. No need to worry about that as I understand it. Everything in LEO suffers from fast orbital decay, slowing and eventually burning up in the atmosphere.

    Reply
  5. I mean…. if you didn’t make altitude adjustments you’d lose your orbit in a few years sure. But you’re going to make attitude adjustments so you can… keep doing your mission… So you still need a de-orbit plan. It’s required by NASA anyway. You have to have a de-orbit plan and a propellant budget showing you can make it.

    Reply
  6. No need to worry about that as I understand it. Everything in LEO suffers from fast orbital decay slowing and eventually burning up in the atmosphere.

    Reply
  7. The way it looks on the drawings, it would seem possible to take out an entire plane with one anti satellite weapon. If the satellites just line up like a string of pearls, you only need one weapon in a reverse orbit.

    Reply
  8. I wonder how much more it would cost to make a internet sat, also be a synthetic aperture radar sat? Rapid scanning phased array microwave antennas are just the sort of thing for internet service, and SAR imaging, aren’t they? Maybe some extra processing to reduce the amount of imaging data sent to ground stations, and some extra precision in the phased array for better resolution. Another revenue stream for spaceX?

    Reply
  9. The way it looks on the drawings it would seem possible to take out an entire plane with one anti satellite weapon. If the satellites just line up like a string of pearls you only need one weapon in a reverse orbit.

    Reply
  10. I wonder how much more it would cost to make a internet sat also be a synthetic aperture radar sat? Rapid scanning phased array microwave antennas are just the sort of thing for internet service and SAR imaging aren’t they? Maybe some extra processing to reduce the amount of imaging data sent to ground stations and some extra precision in the phased array for better resolution. Another revenue stream for spaceX?

    Reply
  11. You are right. These new satellite constellations will enable the creation of ultra-fast response orbital kinetic weapons (aka “rods of god”), with active steering or otherwise. Space near Earth will eventually become like Korea’s DMZ. Not even a fly goes there without permission and protocol. But it will be interesting to see what’s the response of other powers to any advance in this area from the USA. It will probably result in a conventional weapons race in space. And maybe much more international regulation concerning traffic control, allocation of orbits and spacing between orbital facilities.

    Reply
  12. You are right. These new satellite constellations will enable the creation of ultra-fast response orbital kinetic weapons (aka rods of god””)”” with active steering or otherwise.Space near Earth will eventually become like Korea’s DMZ. Not even a fly goes there without permission and protocol.But it will be interesting to see what’s the response of other powers to any advance in this area from the USA. It will probably result in a conventional weapons race in space. And maybe much more international regulation concerning traffic control”” allocation of orbits and spacing between orbital facilities.”””

    Reply
  13. With cheaper access to space, you don’t “put up” replacements, you go up and swap out the satellite, and bring the old one down with you. Or just swap out modules as needed.

    Reply
  14. With cheaper access to space you don’t put up”” replacements”” you go up and swap out the satellite”” and bring the old one down with you. Or just swap out modules as needed.”””

    Reply
  15. That’s not ideal because it’s uncontrolled. Because your s/c is asymmetric wrt atmospheric drag, so it’ll tumble, and you have no idea where it’ll go. And because as it loses altitude, its orbit will change in an uncontrolled manner, placing other LEO satellites in danger. This is why you de-orbit it deliberately, so you are in control of its de-orbit path.

    Reply
  16. Orbital determination is not that easy or precise, especially for weapons. You don’t know where anything is in orbit with greater accuracy than +/- 10s of meters. That’s why anti-satellite weapons are hard. Also, satellites in a single plane are ~3000-4500km apart. The photo is artistic.

    Reply
  17. That’s not ideal because it’s uncontrolled. Because your s/c is asymmetric wrt atmospheric drag so it’ll tumble and you have no idea where it’ll go. And because as it loses altitude its orbit will change in an uncontrolled manner placing other LEO satellites in danger. This is why you de-orbit it deliberately so you are in control of its de-orbit path.

    Reply
  18. Orbital determination is not that easy or precise especially for weapons. You don’t know where anything is in orbit with greater accuracy than +/- 10s of meters. That’s why anti-satellite weapons are hard. Also satellites in a single plane are ~3000-4500km apart. The photo is artistic.

    Reply
  19. Oh, you’re saying a functioning satellite that’s just running low on station keeping fuel, or has degraded solar panels, is worthless, just toss it? And that’s not even counting future military satellites, where you might have a fairly heavy armor shell to render the satellite more survivable, and want to just swap out the guts.

    Reply
  20. Oh you’re saying a functioning satellite that’s just running low on station keeping fuel or has degraded solar panels is worthless just toss it? And that’s not even counting future military satellites where you might have a fairly heavy armor shell to render the satellite more survivable and want to just swap out the guts.

    Reply
  21. Oh, you’re saying a functioning satellite that’s just running low on station keeping fuel, or has degraded solar panels, is worthless, just toss it? And that’s not even counting future military satellites, where you might have a fairly heavy armor shell to render the satellite more survivable, and want to just swap out the guts.

    Reply
  22. Oh you’re saying a functioning satellite that’s just running low on station keeping fuel or has degraded solar panels is worthless just toss it? And that’s not even counting future military satellites where you might have a fairly heavy armor shell to render the satellite more survivable and want to just swap out the guts.

    Reply
  23. Oh, you’re saying a functioning satellite that’s just running low on station keeping fuel, or has degraded solar panels, is worthless, just toss it?

    And that’s not even counting future military satellites, where you might have a fairly heavy armor shell to render the satellite more survivable, and want to just swap out the guts.

    Reply
  24. That’s not ideal because it’s uncontrolled. Because your s/c is asymmetric wrt atmospheric drag, so it’ll tumble, and you have no idea where it’ll go. And because as it loses altitude, its orbit will change in an uncontrolled manner, placing other LEO satellites in danger. This is why you de-orbit it deliberately, so you are in control of its de-orbit path.

    Reply
  25. That’s not ideal because it’s uncontrolled. Because your s/c is asymmetric wrt atmospheric drag so it’ll tumble and you have no idea where it’ll go. And because as it loses altitude its orbit will change in an uncontrolled manner placing other LEO satellites in danger. This is why you de-orbit it deliberately so you are in control of its de-orbit path.

    Reply
  26. Orbital determination is not that easy or precise, especially for weapons. You don’t know where anything is in orbit with greater accuracy than +/- 10s of meters. That’s why anti-satellite weapons are hard. Also, satellites in a single plane are ~3000-4500km apart. The photo is artistic.

    Reply
  27. Orbital determination is not that easy or precise especially for weapons. You don’t know where anything is in orbit with greater accuracy than +/- 10s of meters. That’s why anti-satellite weapons are hard. Also satellites in a single plane are ~3000-4500km apart. The photo is artistic.

    Reply
  28. With cheaper access to space, you don’t “put up” replacements, you go up and swap out the satellite, and bring the old one down with you. Or just swap out modules as needed.

    Reply
  29. With cheaper access to space you don’t put up”” replacements”” you go up and swap out the satellite”” and bring the old one down with you. Or just swap out modules as needed.”””

    Reply
  30. You are right. These new satellite constellations will enable the creation of ultra-fast response orbital kinetic weapons (aka “rods of god”), with active steering or otherwise. Space near Earth will eventually become like Korea’s DMZ. Not even a fly goes there without permission and protocol. But it will be interesting to see what’s the response of other powers to any advance in this area from the USA. It will probably result in a conventional weapons race in space. And maybe much more international regulation concerning traffic control, allocation of orbits and spacing between orbital facilities.

    Reply
  31. You are right. These new satellite constellations will enable the creation of ultra-fast response orbital kinetic weapons (aka rods of god””)”” with active steering or otherwise.Space near Earth will eventually become like Korea’s DMZ. Not even a fly goes there without permission and protocol.But it will be interesting to see what’s the response of other powers to any advance in this area from the USA. It will probably result in a conventional weapons race in space. And maybe much more international regulation concerning traffic control”” allocation of orbits and spacing between orbital facilities.”””

    Reply
  32. That’s not ideal because it’s uncontrolled. Because your s/c is asymmetric wrt atmospheric drag, so it’ll tumble, and you have no idea where it’ll go. And because as it loses altitude, its orbit will change in an uncontrolled manner, placing other LEO satellites in danger. This is why you de-orbit it deliberately, so you are in control of its de-orbit path.

    Reply
  33. Orbital determination is not that easy or precise, especially for weapons. You don’t know where anything is in orbit with greater accuracy than +/- 10s of meters. That’s why anti-satellite weapons are hard. Also, satellites in a single plane are ~3000-4500km apart. The photo is artistic.

    Reply
  34. The way it looks on the drawings, it would seem possible to take out an entire plane with one anti satellite weapon. If the satellites just line up like a string of pearls, you only need one weapon in a reverse orbit.

    Reply
  35. The way it looks on the drawings it would seem possible to take out an entire plane with one anti satellite weapon. If the satellites just line up like a string of pearls you only need one weapon in a reverse orbit.

    Reply
  36. I wonder how much more it would cost to make a internet sat, also be a synthetic aperture radar sat? Rapid scanning phased array microwave antennas are just the sort of thing for internet service, and SAR imaging, aren’t they? Maybe some extra processing to reduce the amount of imaging data sent to ground stations, and some extra precision in the phased array for better resolution. Another revenue stream for spaceX?

    Reply
  37. I wonder how much more it would cost to make a internet sat also be a synthetic aperture radar sat? Rapid scanning phased array microwave antennas are just the sort of thing for internet service and SAR imaging aren’t they? Maybe some extra processing to reduce the amount of imaging data sent to ground stations and some extra precision in the phased array for better resolution. Another revenue stream for spaceX?

    Reply
  38. You are right. These new satellite constellations will enable the creation of ultra-fast response orbital kinetic weapons (aka “rods of god”), with active steering or otherwise.

    Space near Earth will eventually become like Korea’s DMZ. Not even a fly goes there without permission and protocol.

    But it will be interesting to see what’s the response of other powers to any advance in this area from the USA. It will probably result in a conventional weapons race in space. And maybe much more international regulation concerning traffic control, allocation of orbits and spacing between orbital facilities.

    Reply
  39. I mean…. if you didn’t make altitude adjustments, you’d lose your orbit in a few years, sure. But you’re going to make attitude adjustments so you can… keep doing your mission… So you still need a de-orbit plan. It’s required by NASA anyway. You have to have a de-orbit plan and a propellant budget showing you can make it.

    Reply
  40. I mean…. if you didn’t make altitude adjustments you’d lose your orbit in a few years sure. But you’re going to make attitude adjustments so you can… keep doing your mission… So you still need a de-orbit plan. It’s required by NASA anyway. You have to have a de-orbit plan and a propellant budget showing you can make it.

    Reply
  41. No need to worry about that as I understand it. Everything in LEO suffers from fast orbital decay, slowing and eventually burning up in the atmosphere.

    Reply
  42. No need to worry about that as I understand it. Everything in LEO suffers from fast orbital decay slowing and eventually burning up in the atmosphere.

    Reply
  43. If this go forward, LEO will be busy, busy, busy! I hope they have a plan for decommissioning those at the end of their operational lifetime, or we’ll have some difficulty with Kessler syndrome much sooner than predicted…

    Reply
  44. If this go forward LEO will be busy busy busy! I hope they have a plan for decommissioning those at the end of their operational lifetime or we’ll have some difficulty with Kessler syndrome much sooner than predicted…

    Reply
  45. The way it looks on the drawings, it would seem possible to take out an entire plane with one anti satellite weapon. If the satellites just line up like a string of pearls, you only need one weapon in a reverse orbit.

    Reply
  46. I wonder how much more it would cost to make a internet sat, also be a synthetic aperture radar sat? Rapid scanning phased array microwave antennas are just the sort of thing for internet service, and SAR imaging, aren’t they? Maybe some extra processing to reduce the amount of imaging data sent to ground stations, and some extra precision in the phased array for better resolution. Another revenue stream for spaceX?

    Reply
  47. I mean…. if you didn’t make altitude adjustments, you’d lose your orbit in a few years, sure. But you’re going to make attitude adjustments so you can… keep doing your mission… So you still need a de-orbit plan. It’s required by NASA anyway. You have to have a de-orbit plan and a propellant budget showing you can make it.

    Reply
  48. If this go forward, LEO will be busy, busy, busy! I hope they have a plan for decommissioning those at the end of their operational lifetime, or we’ll have some difficulty with Kessler syndrome much sooner than predicted…

    Reply

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