We all know that the Pentagon has more space weapons technology in mind than just a single, satellite-shooting missile. But trying to pin down how much the Defense Department is spending on space combat research — and on what projects — is an absolute bitch. The programs are spread across at least a dozen different accounts; much of the technology involved is “dual use” — meaning, it could help with another military matters, too; and that’s before you get into the Defense Department’s “black,” classified budget.
Over the years, the gang at the Center for Defense Information has done a good a job as anyone at this thankless task. They’ve just released their survey of the Pentagon’s 2009 budget, highlighting research that could lead to arms in space. By the absolute most conservative estimate, we’re talking $520 million dollars in next year’s budget. The real number is likely several multiples of that.
The projects mostly involve ways to disable potentially hostile satellites; many have other uses, as well. They include a giant laser, to help spot targets in orbit (and to improve space imaging, in the meantime); micro satellites, that could disable another country’s orbiters (or repair our own); a series of jammers, to block enemy satellite signals; and missile interceptors, based in space.
At first glance, an anti-missile might not seem like a space weapon project. But, as last month’s satellite shoot-down showed, the same gear used to intercept a missile can also be repurposed to blast a sat. Especially if the gear is already in space.
- His Ship Shot the Satellite
- Sat Shoot-Down Logo Revealed!
- Operation Rogue Satellite: The PR Plan
- Spy Satellite Blast, Caught on Tape
- Sat Shot Faces Political Fallout
- A Warm, Fuzzy Satellite Interceptor
- Satellite Debris? FEMA Will Save Us!
- Video: Satellite Shoot-Down, Simulated
- Wham! Navy Blasts Rogue Satellite
- ‘Seconds’ Per Day to Take Out Rogue Satellite
- Rogue Satellite’s Rotten, $10 Billion Legacy
- Wildlife Refuge Braces for Spy Sat Rain
- Pentagon Flack Flummoxed by Satellite Shooters
- Bad Weather Delays Satellite Shot
- Sat-Killer’s Track Record
- Name the Rogue Satellite Operation
- Dying Satellite’s Toxic Danger: Way, Way Low
- Lewis: Don’t Shoot the Spy Sat
- Satellite Shoot-Down Set: Intercept Near Hawaii; Debris Cloud Over Canada
- Operation Rogue Satellite: The Latest
- Experts Scoff at Sat Shoot-Down Rationale
- Inside America’s Satellite-Killing Missile
- Skeptical About the Rogue Spy Sat ‘Shot’
- Rogue Spy Sat, Sketched
- Pentagon Unveils Rogue Spy Sat Shoot-Down Plan
- Pentagon to Shoot Down Rogue Satellite
- U.S. May Shoot Down Errant Satellite
- Falling Spy Sat: Don’t Panic
- Spy Satellite Will Plummet to Earth
- How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 1)
- How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 2)
- How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 3)
- Ukraine Big: We Can Spot Your Sats, Control Space
- How to Blow Up a Satellite
- “Autonomous” Mini-Spacecraft Team up to Replace Big Sats
- Lockheed Lost in Space
- Death of a Satellite
- Video: Double Hit for Missile Interceptors
- Missile Defense’s Tight Fit
- Missile Defense: Ready Now, or Ready Never? From: http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/03/space-weapons-b.html