Space programs: Relying on the Russians, a blind eye to the Chinese
Our country’s military’s missile capabilities are partially dependent on technologies developed via our space program which of late is further heavily reliant on Russian engine technology. Additionally, our astronauts, or is that singular, gets their (his) ride into space via Russian space craft. The ticket costs about $70 million.
How does a country, how does our country, decline into such a dangerous and unenviable position? Might I suggest bad leadership?
As Michael Moore might query, “Hey dude, where’s my space program?” For those who say, “who needs one, let the others spend the money on going to the moon,” I would like to point to a few realities.
In the past, missile technologies from our space program have been instrumental to the development our defense program’s missile technologies. We have grown comfortable and complacent having the best. The unfriendlies have noticed. One of the ruses of those unfriendly is to feign friendship and then secure a dependency. We have played this game in the past by controlling maintenance and replacement parts for fighter jets sold to other nations.
Would it surprise anyone that our spy and surveillance satellites, the ones that tell us how many Russian troops are stacked on the Ukrainian border, are propelled by Russian engines?
The NRO (National Reconnaissance Office ) is a joint operation of the US military and intelligence services, and frequently launches payloads of surveillance satellites about which few details are released to the public.
(Elon) Musk's firm (SPACEX) said over the weekend that it will file a legal challenge today at the US Court of Federal Claims against the US Air Force's latest Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contract with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which was signed last year.
Musk also appealed to national pride and current animosity towards Russia after its actions in Ukraine by pointing out that the ULA's launch vehicle, the Atlas V, uses Russian engines from a Russian company.
“In light of international events, this seems like the wrong time to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kremlin,” he said. “Yet, this is what the Air Force’s arrangement with ULA does, despite the fact that there are domestic alternatives available that do not rely on components from countries that pose a national security risk.”
How did we get into such a position? And what of the “sanctions” and where is the outrage? The ‘reset” with the Russians apparently involved not only a unilateral disarmament with the Russian via the START treaty but also a calculated decline in our space program. The net results are now manifesting. Our satellite delivery is reliant on Russia. Comfortable?
Frankly, we shouldn’t be comfortable with Elon Musk being the backbone of our space technology and the guide to our future space capabilities. This is a national defense issue Mr. President. And, NASA has better things to do than to hand hold (reach out) Muslim nations per your earlier directive. Really?
And let us not forget about China and GPS. Is China’s space programme a cover for anti-satellite technology? ‘The threats to US space assets are significant and growing,’ as potential adversaries continue to pursue and could soon acquire counterspace capabilities.”
Whoever controls space controls the GPS systems. Need I enumerate how reliant and broad based the Global Positioning Systems are? (drone strikes and military operations, defense systems, to airline travel, mapping, surveying, crop management, etc etc..)
Engine technologies for space travel, short circuiting missile technology development for military applications, and a potential inability to manage and control global positioning satellites are all off shoots of poor policy from this administration. The world is not always a warm and fuzzy place. Putin is playing hard ball. China can play too.