(NationalSentinel) Final Frontier: In a break from long-standing policy of keeping space weapons-free, the Pentagon has reversed course and decided to ramp up space weapon development – to protect its military satellites and for other purposes.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that development would include offensive weapons and the honing of space warfare tactics, at first to protect the largest, most expensive and valuable spy satellites:
The extent of the shift was evident at a recent space symposium [in Colorado Springs, Colo.], with one senior general after another calling for more-advanced weaponry and updated rules of engagement that—for the first time—specifically would be designed to counter moves by hostile spacecraft beyond the atmosphere.
“We will be threatened in space, and we need to be prepared for that,” Brig. Gen. John Shaw, deputy director of global operations at Strategic Command, the Defense Department unit in charge of nuclear and other long-range weapons, said, the WSJ reported.
“There isn’t something special as a space war,” that should be considered as separate from naval or land combat, he told conference attendees.
The Air Force is working closely with the National Reconnaissance Office to devise offensive strategies against weapons or satellites of other nations that could blind, jam or destroy in-orbit spy satellites, according to several of the symposium’s speakers.
Issues related to space weaponry, especially technology that can disrupt hostile spacecraft, are among the Pentagon’s most closely guarded secrets. Though research has been under way quietly for decades and military leaders in the past few years targeted billions of extra dollars to ensure space superiority, details are highly classified and companies involved in the effort aren’t public.
Russia and China have been developing and testing anti-satellite weapons for years, and so obviously Pentagon planners have been aware of such development and have never had any plans for the U.S. to remain completely neutral – and thus vulnerable – in space.
News of the Pentagon’s space development come as China announced it planned to build a base on the moon. As the UK’s Daily Mail reported, Beijing is currently discussing the plans with European partners:
China is talking with the European Space Agency about collaborating on a human settlement on the moon.
The secretary general for China’s space agency, Tian Yulong, disclosed the talks today in Chinese state media.
The ESA has previously described its ‘Moon Village’ as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars.
This is decades away, no doubt, but it’s clear that the next “frontier” humans seek to conquer – or at least explore more deeply – lies “out there.”