News Space and the Military

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I was wondering how many people think that we are moving towards a militarization of space? I am really impressed with the probes like Cassini and the latest probe, but I feel that ulterior motives could be at work.
 

Astronuc

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There are two groups - those looking to explore space, and those interested in securing a military presence. It's much like the oceans, where nations established both a commerical/trade presence and a military (naval) presence.

The military, particularly US, is looking for a strategic advantange. So much communication is now handled by satellites. The nation which controls space will have a significant strategic advantage against all other nations.

Organizations like NASA and ESA are interested in exploring space, for both scientific and commercial reasons. However, the costs of doing so are enourmous.

Is there a relationship between the two groups? Perhaps. Certain technologies are common. People will move back and forth, friends and colleagues communicate ideas, governments and individuals within governments will influence policy and direction.

So, what will be.
 

russ_watters

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I don't see what Cassini has to do with the potential militarization of space: it was just a probe to Saturn and we've been sending probes to the outer planets since the '70s.

All of our current space-based miltiary initiatives are focused on earth orbit.
 

Chronos

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Of course there is a military interest in exploiting space based technology. It would be naive to think all that money is invested solely in the interest of science. Scientists should 'moo' and flutter their eyelids like milk cows when asked 'can we use this knowledge to create a weapon?'
 
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Chronos said:
Scientists should 'moo' and flutter their eyelids like milk cows when asked 'can we use this knowledge to create a weapon?'
It's better to find out first if the military you work for will use it for good
or evil. Arming good is always better than not arming it and much much
better than arming evil.
 
I don't think it's quite so much the military that should be viewed as being good or evil but the administration that wields it.
 
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Echo 6 Sierra said:
I don't think it's quite so much the military that should be viewed as being good or evil but the administration that wields it.
Yes, E6S, spot on.

And in the general case, if a scientist works for a hate-filled leader or
world view then it is quite likelier that their weapons will be used less
justly than if those weapons would be in the hands of a more open
system with respect for the individual citizen.
 

russ_watters

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That is precisely what happened with the early space race (Manhattan Project, too) - the fleeing German scientists decided between the USSR and the USA.
 

Astronuc

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russ_watters said:
That is precisely what happened with the early space race (Manhattan Project, too) - the fleeing German scientists decided between the USSR and the USA.
I am not sure if German scientists decided about USSR, i.e. I don't believe the Germans had much of a choice. The Russians simply moved the German scientists back to Russia, in some cases. Germany and Berlin were divided into US, British, French and Russian sectors at the end of the war. I think von Braun and his colleagues were lucky enough to be in or get to the US sector. The US had a high priority to get the German scientists.
 
A

alexandra

grant555 said:


I was wondering how many people think that we are moving towards a militarization of space? I am really impressed with the probes like Cassini and the latest probe, but I feel that ulterior motives could be at work.
An interesting question, grant555. I have not done much reading on this topic, but did a google search now and came up with some information:
O'Keefe [former administrator of NASA] also began another, less heralded transformation at NASA by filling many top agency positions with former military officials, many of whom had no previous space experience. Jobs ranging from chief financial officer and general counsel to the head of the new exploration programme — retired Navy Rear Admiral Craig Steidle — have gone to people with Pentagon backgrounds. This partly reflects O'Keefe's work experience, but also signals the Bush administration's interest in fostering a closer relationship between military and civilian space programmes.

The use of military expertise extends to outside advisers, such as retired Air Force General Lester Lyles, a former head of the US Missile Defense Agency, who has been tapped to head NASA's oversight committee for the Moon mission. In a speech to the Air Force Association last month, Lyles praised O'Keefe for "getting to an organization that looks very much more like the Department of Defense".

That trend may continue after O'Keefe's departure. Rumoured successors include several military men, among them retired Air Force General Ronald Kadish, who recently led the US missile defence programme.

Reference: http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041213/pf/432787a_pf.html - Date: 15 December 2004
ARMS TRADE RESOURCE CENTER

Pentagon Brass and Military Contractors' Gold
By Leslie Wayne

The New York Times, June 29, 2004

Edward C. Aldridge's storied career exemplifies the dizzying spins of the revolving door between the Pentagon and its military contractors. He has been secretary of the Air Force, president of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation and, most recently, an under secretary of defense.

Now, he is a member of the Lockheed Martin Corporation board, a detail that did not prevent him from being named to head President Bush's commission on space exploration. Lockheed is one of NASA's biggest contractors, and only Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, objected and called for Mr. Aldridge's removal, complaining of conflict of interest.

But Mr. Aldridge, who receives $155,000 a year from Lockheed and owns $115,000 in company stock, stayed put. Last month, the commission called for privatizing much of NASA. One of the biggest potential beneficiaries is United Space Alliance, a Lockheed company that operates the space shuttle and does more business with NASA than any other contractor.

More: http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/updates/062904.html[/URL][/QUOTE]

And finally, from the [b]Union of Concerned Scientists[/b]:[QUOTE][i]space weapons[/i]

For nearly a half-century, the cooperative and peaceful use of space has yielded immense benefits to humans worldwide. Although space has been "militarized"—military satellites have been deployed for purposes ranging from the verification of arms control treaties to providing targeting information to military forces on Earth—it has not yet been "weaponized." Despite Cold War tensions and the technical capability to do so, no nation has deployed destructive weapons in space or destroyed the satellites of another nation.

However, this norm may be breached in the near future. The Bush administration appears to have a serious interest in anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and the Pentagon has announced its intention to pursue a testbed for space-based missile defenses by 2008. The testbed deployment would entail putting one or more missile-targeting interceptor satellites into orbit.

Weapons in space are likely to be politically destabilizing. They may threaten the commercial, scientific, and military use of space, all without clearly reaping their intended security benefits. The international community, notably including Russia and China, Canada, and the countries of the European Union, supports creating a treaty to ban weapons from outer space. Serious multilateral discussion about "rules of the road" for space is needed.

Which rules and norms are established is especially important for the United States, the country most reliant on space assets. The United States owns and operates the vast majority of satellites orbiting today, and space has become critical to US economic, scientific, and military interests. Though the United States and the former republics of the Soviet Union have long dominated the use of space, currently many states are investing in space assets and have developed or are developing the ability to use space peacefully.

Insight into the Bush administration’s troubling plans can be found in the January 2001 report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by Donald Rumsfeld shortly before he became Secretary of Defense. Although the report stresses defensive space operations, it endorses also the notion of "space control" and specifically calls for anti-satellite technology, stating that "The U.S. will require means of negating satellite threats, whether temporary and reversible or physically destructive."

More (including a link to the above-mentioned report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space management and Organization): [PLAIN]http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/space_weapons/index.cfm[/URL][/QUOTE]
 
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Antiphon said:
It's better to find out first if the military you work for will use it for good
or evil. Arming good is always better than not arming it and much much
better than arming evil.
Moooo *flutters eye lids*
 

Astronuc

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RTG systems in space - http://www.ne.doe.gov/space/spacepwr.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

General discussion on space-nuclear power, which is essentially RTG technology - http://www.nuc.umr.edu/nuclear_facts/spacepower/spacepower.html [Broken]
----------------------

Cassini's subsystems - http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/subsystems-cassini.cfm [Broken]
including 3 RTGs that provide a total of 850 watts of power.

Three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators -- commonly referred to as RTGs -- provide power for the spacecraft, including the instruments, computers, and radio transmitters on board, attitude thrusters, and reaction wheels.
----------------------

Space-based weapons platforms were designed with Multi-megawatt reactors in mind.

So Cassini has little to do with military applications. On the other hand, it is a 'satellite' or 'spacecraft' which uses generic technology that would be used on military satellite or spacecraft.
 
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Argentum Vulpes

Astronuc said:
I am not sure if German scientists decided about USSR, i.e. I don't believe the Germans had much of a choice. The Russians simply moved the German scientists back to Russia, in some cases. Germany and Berlin were divided into US, British, French and Russian sectors at the end of the war. I think von Braun and his colleagues were lucky enough to be in or get to the US sector. The US had a high priority to get the German scientists.
The V-2 research complex was at Peenemünde (north-eastern cost of current day Germany), this complex housed Von Braun, his research team, and there families for most of the war. They were located to the facility for security reasions early on in the war. Von Braun moved his research team and as much of his teams research papers away from that complex near the end of the war to prevent the russians from getting there hands on it. He moved it to the main production lines in central Germany, then went looking for G.I.'s on his bike so he could surrender his team and there info over to the Americans. So the argument that tec. is as evil as the hands that it is in is a vary legit argument.
 
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Smurf said:
Moooo *flutters eye lids*
Ok. I'll accept this appelation. But remember I made the choice willingly.
Farm animals don't have that luxury. This puts my decision into a morally
different category than theirs.

If the military is the farmer and he agrees to keep me free, I'll agree to
stay on his farm and make milk. Anything wrong with that?
 
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Fine. Whatever.

I'm pretty sure you don't have the luxury either.
 
Astronuc said:
The military, particularly US, is looking for a strategic advantange. So much communication is now handled by satellites. The nation which controls space will have a significant strategic advantage against all other nations.

Can you say "The Evil Empire"?
 

russ_watters

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What do you mean? The Soviet Union dissolved 14 years ago.
 

loseyourname

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russ_watters said:
What do you mean? The Soviet Union dissolved 14 years ago.
Yes, but the Yankees keep going strong.
 

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