Last week a SpaceX rocket exploded in a fireball at the SpaceX site in Texas. "Fortunately," reported Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News, "no one was aboard." But what if nuclear materials had been aboard? The nuclear space issue is one I got into 35 years ago when I learned from reading a U.S. Department of Energy news letter about two space shuttles, one the Challenger which was to be launched the following year with 24.2 pounds of plutonium aboard. The plutonium the shuttles were to carry aloft in 1986 was to be used as fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generators RTGs that were to provide a small amount of electric power for instruments on space probes to be released from the shuttles once the shuttles achieved orbit.
Since 1970, people have celebrated Earth Day every year during April. It is a day to reflect on how lucky we are to be on this planet. Unfortunately, it's not a national holiday. All of us, all over the world, both adults and schoolchildren, should be given the day off filled with festivities and programs on all types of media that explain and emphasize how fortunate we are to be here. I've come to think of our intimate relationship with the Earth similar to that between two people, a two-way street with give and take. Ancient peoples thought of the Earth as a goddess; for the Greeks, it was Gaia, the personification of the Earth. Even in modern times, there is the Gaia hypothesis by British scientist James Lovelock that views the Earth as a living organism.
Russian officials on Tuesday criticized a US executive order paving the way for the exploitation of off-earth resources. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it would be "unacceptable" for the US to unilaterally privatize space. Roscosmos deputy director Sergei Saveliev went further, arguing that the order would allow the US to occupy off-earth territories. He said it undermined the spirit of international cooperation in space. "Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries for fruitful cooperation," Saveliev said. US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order establishing US policy on the exploitation resources in space.
Last December, the National Defense Authorization Act that was renewed with bipartisan support in Congress authorized the creation of a new branch of the military, a space force. In January, President Trump appointed the head of that new force, General John Jay Raymond. The US military plans to move 16,ooo military and civilian personnel into that space force. We speak with Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space about what this space force means. He describes how space technology is already being used in warfare, how this area is a new profit center for the aerospace industry and how it is draining critical resources from necessary programs. He also explains that a war in space will create so many problems, that everyone on the planet will be impacted in a negative way.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 14 administered the oath of office to Gen. John “Jay” Raymond as the first chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to the White House West Wing. Pence called this a historic occasion as Raymond became the first official member and leader of the newly established U.S. Space Force. President Donald Trump on Dec. 20 signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 that created the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the nation’s armed forces.
President Donald J. Trump looks as a flag is revealed during a ceremony to establish the U.S. Space Command in the Rose Garden in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday, Aug 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images). President Trump has signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 that establishes a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces—despite the Outer Space Treaty designating space as a global commons to be used for peaceful purposes.
Unless grassroots action somehow stops it, it looks likely that the Trump scheme for a Space Force, a sixth branch of United States armed forces, will happen. The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the $738 billion military policy bill that gives Trump his sought-for Space Force as he moves for what he terms “American dominance in space.” The vote for what is titled the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 was 377 to 48. Some 189 Republicans and 188 Democrats voted for it. Six Republican House members voted no, along with 41 Democrats and one independent.
A secretive war game that examines combat in space kicked off this week in Alabama. The Schriever War Game, bringing together several military commands, allies and the nation's intelligence agencies, focuses on a rival nation in Europe starting a "multi-domain" war, a military term that combines traditional land, sea and air combat with space battle and cyberattacks. The unnamed rival — the military never says Russia or China when it comes to war games — is "seeking to achieve strategic goals by exploiting multi-domain operations," Air Force Space Command said in a news release.
The Wall Street Journal (5/10/19) published an excerpt from an upcoming book by CNN’s chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, which claims that despite a “Star Wars–like space service” being an “easy comic target,” “US commanders” are “deadly serious” about confronting “new threats in space.” These “commanders” were mostly anonymous—but such sources are often involved in a profitable revolving door relationship with military contractors.
The US is formally committed to dominating the world by the year 2020. With President Trump’s new Space Directive-4, the production of laser-armed fighter jets as possible precursors to space weapons, and the possibility of nuclear warheads being put into orbit, the clock is ticking… Back in 1997, the now-re-established US Space Command announced its commitment to “full spectrum dominance.” The Vision for 2020 explains that “full spectrum dominance” means military control over land, sea, air, and space (the so-called fourth dimension of warfare) “to protect US interests and investment.”
Beginning to fill in his declaration of last year about turning space into a war zone and establishing a U.S. Space Force, President Trump was at the Pentagon last week promoting a plan titled “Missile Defense Review.” As The New York Times said in its headline on the scheme:: “Plans Evoke 1983 ‘Star Wars’ Program.” Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, called it “provocative and destabilizing and basically insane.” As Trump stated at the Pentagon on January 17: “We will recognize that space is a new war-fighting domain with the Space Force leading the way. My upcoming budget will invest in a space-based missile defense layer technology.
The Trump administration is pushing hard on its scheme to create a Space Force. Last week Vice President Pence, chairman of a newly reconstituted National Space Council, in a speech at the Pentagon declared: “The time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield.” Pence claimed—falsely: “Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already and the United States will not shrink from the challenge.”n Trump, who in June announced he was “directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” following Pence’s address Thursday promptly tweeted: “Space Force all the way!”
If Donald Trump gets his way on formation of a Space Force, the heavens would become a war zone. Inevitably, there would be military conflict in space. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which designates space as the global commons to be used for peaceful purposes—and of which Russia and China, as well as the United States, are parties—and the years of work facilitating the treaty since would be wasted. If the U.S. goes up into space with weapons, Russia and China, and then India and Pakistan and other countries, will follow. Moreover space weaponry, as I have detailed through the years in my writings and TV programs, would be nuclear-powered—as Reagan’s Star Wars scheme was to be with nuclear reactors and plutonium systems on orbiting battle platforms providing the power for hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons.
Outer space is being taken over by the worlds military. In particular, the US Space Command’s “Vision for 2020” describes the goal of “Full Spectrum Dominance”: military superiority on land, at sea, in the air, in space and of all information. To achieve this end the Pentagon has launched hundreds of satellites which they use for surveillance; communication; global positioning; missile targeting and guidance; drone operations; and so-called ‘missile defence’ all of which are important components of war fighting. In addition, space-based weapons of various types are now being developed.
WASHINGTON – What does the United States do when it’s faced with hegemonic decline, ascendant rivals, and an inability to use its massive military apparatus to turn the tide in favor of its own imperial ambitions without incurring costs that far outweigh the benefits? To paraphrase former First Lady Michelle Obama: When they go low, we go high. In this case, shift the battle to “the final frontier” – outer space — where mining interests suspect that rare mineral resources can be found in abundance and yield massive profits. During his time on the campaign trail and upon coming to power, President Donald Trump issued a stream of statements explicitly calling for a reinvigorated effort to boost the militarization of space.