satellites

Gen. William Shelton, commander of US Air Force Space Command.

WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… Keep reading →

Falcon 9 production at SpaceX

[UPDATED with SpaceX comment] WASHINGTON: For the first time in a decade, the Air Force has opened its primary space launch program to competition. That’s something startup rocket company SpaceX and Congress have pushed for vigorously. It’s also a long-anticipated blow for the United Space Alliance — formed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin – which has… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: The People’s Liberation Army has practiced jamming GPS signals, according to a Pentagon report today. The Chinese are testing those and other electronic warfare weapons and they have “proven effective.” China plans to launch 100 satellites through 2015, including “imaging, remote sensing, navigation, communication, and scientific satellites, as well as manned spacecraft,” says a… Keep reading →

Intelsat-Epic-702MP-Satellites-Boeing-Image-Credit-The-Boeing-Company-posted-on-AmericaSpace

WASHINGTON: For more than a decade, the US military has fumbled and groped and stumbled and, gradually, figured out ways to buy a mix of commercial satellite communications and dedicated military satellites so it could communicate and watch video from Predator, Global Hawk, and Reaper drones in theaters where military bandwidth was precious. For much… Keep reading →

Joint Space Operations Center artists conception

COLORADO SPRINGS: Australia, Britain, Canada and United States have signed a symbolically important Memorandum of Understanding committing them to “a partnership on combined space operations.” As is often the case with such international agreements — especially on such a highly sensitive area as space operations — figuring out what it means and how things may… Keep reading →

Gen. Willie Shelton

COLORADO SPRING: Message to Elon Musk of SpaceX: the head of Air Force Space Command is not really happy with you, and he personally supports development of a new rocket engine that would mean the United States did not have to depend on the Russians’ RD-180 rocket engine. I asked Gen. Willie Shelton, who will… Keep reading →

Delta 4 Heavy ULA launch

COLORADO SPRINGS: After more than a month during which upstart rocket company SpaceX defined the debate about how much America should pay to launch big satellites into space, the Boeing-Lockheed United Launch Alliance crawled out from under its own rock and let fly. Feisty CEO Michael Gass sat opposite a phalanx of defense and space… Keep reading →

chinesecyberguys

COLORADO SPRINGS: The United States invented the Internet, but we may not rule it any more. “We are certainly behind right now. We are chasing our adversary, for sure,” one of the Air Force’s top cyber warriors, Col. Dean Hullings, told an audience of about 350 here at the National Space Symposium‘s one-day cyber event. Hullings,… Keep reading →

WorldView 3 satellite

TAMPA: The head of the Intelligence Community, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told the world’s biggest intelligence conference that he has recommended to the White House that it approve significantly higher resolutions for the nation’s one remaining commercial spy satellite company. Currently, the United States limits the sale of commercial imagery to half a meter. The… Keep reading →

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CAPITOL HILL: The Pentagon’s top space officials told Congress today they have launched a study to ascertain if the United States can build its own rocket engines so expensive and large spy and GPS satellites don’t have to be launched using Russian rocket engines, as they are now. Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space… Keep reading →

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