MAY 2002 : SATELLITE PROLIFERATION THREATENS US MILITARY - SPECIAL REPORT
This week saw a briefing in Congress, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Congressmen and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, issued the CSIS report "Preserving Americas Strength in Satellite Technology".
of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has called the War in Afghanistan, "The
First Space-based War" for the reliance on satellite technology for
communications, navigation, reconnaissance and command and control. But
US military has also realized that countries other than Russia and the
US can build communications satellites. Tired of being given the run-around
securing export licenses from the USA, for satellite components, many
countries have developed production, and testing capabilities. The problem
now is that some countries even prohibit use of US built technology, "Its
not worth the trouble" pointed out a South East Asian manufacturer.
China now has the production capabilities for small efficient handsets,
built under sub contract for US and European Cellphone markets, rocket
launchers, and satellite technology thanks to the Clinton Administration.
It is now possible for China to consider matching, even jamming US military
communication satellites, with the technology, and capabilities they posses.
Russia is again building up its space industry, realizing that what
a US President promises, the US Congress may not deliver. There are over
a dozen countries capable of creating a space-based communication network.
Space communications are no longer the sole domain of the USA.
quality of the images from the recently launched Quickbird satellite has
dismayed military planners, who demand the US military has "Shutter
Control" over all satellites, regardless of who owns, or controls
them. The 61cm resolution images were classified Top Secret not many years
ago, now they are available on the open market. John Hamre, former Deputy
Secretary of Defense, told us that the US military must be protected,
by all satellites shutting off in areas where, and when the US military
is conducting operations! The US demands sole control on intelligence
interpretation. The Japanese are still smarting over the insistence that
only US Intelligence images of Afghanistan only be used for coalition
forces, and refused to allow Japan to buy images directly from Space Imaging,
as the US had bought all images exclusively for its own use. The huge
loss of revenue for the commercial operator will no be repeated.
report accepted that the US is dependent on space, and is facing a threat
it does not like, and cannot stop. The hawks demand the US use its Star
Wars technology to blast Chinese, and Russian satellites out of orbit.
If the US seeks to dominate Space with its new, and developing Missile Defense Shield, and tests rockets, lasers etc. by destroying spent rockets, and old US satellites, then the uncontrollable debris field from these explosions will be a serious threat to constellations such as GPS, Iridium, Teledesic and the proposed Gallileo, not to mention SPOT, QuickBird, and the weather satellites. George Bush may be Macho Man in Space, but firing his Space Guns, even to test them, may destroy his navigation, reconnaissance, weather forecasting and really upset the rest of the world.
BOR-5 SECRET SOVIET SHUTTLE GOES ON AUCTION IN AMERICA
These striking images show the former secret Bor-5, an eighth-scale model of the Soviet Space Shuttle, awaiting sale in the USA.
The Bor-5 unmanned spacecraft was actually flown five times in the 1980s and is remarkably similar in design to the American Space Shuttle.
Sadly the sale of this fascinating piece of hardware reflects the gloomy downturn in Russias economy and its once flourishing space programme.
Robert Simpson, from Florida, acts as a sales agent for the Russian space programme and also works at the Kennedy Space Center. He takes up the story of how this fantastic historical spacecraft ended up at the auctions.
I was in Russia presenting a video on the US Space Shuttle programme at around the time of our first flight to the Russian Mir Space Station.
I made friends with the engineers out there and noticed some incredible hardware that was just lying around their warehouses. I offered to sell the stuff on their behalf and its been a whirlwind ever since.
Simpson found Soviet satellites, scale models of famous probes such as
Vostok and Phobos. And this went for just £3,000 ($4,300). There
was even a back-up satellite of Sputnik on offer at £5,000.
Simpson says: Its the only unmanned spacecraft, Russian or American, to be repeatedly flown this way. Thats the one item that weve shipped over here and Ive actually shown it to an astronaut. He was amazed how much it resembled the US Shuttle.
The Bor-5 goes on sale in Spring 2002 in the US via Kruse International of Indiana.
Eye Spy would like to thank Patrick E. Gurrola, Operations Manager of Mannheim Containers for his help in producing this feature.
More striking images in Eye Spy 8