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Breaking Defense

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Gen. William Shelton

Stop The Fearmongering Over War In Space: The Sky’s Not Falling, Part 1

Posted by Joan Johnson-Freese on


    Star Wars it ain’t, but the Pentagon is increasingly anxious over threats to its satellites, as we’ve reported frequently in recent years. But in this op-ed, scholars Joan Johnson-Freese and Theresa Hitchens argue that war in space is dangerously overhyped. — the editors In the last two years, we’ve seen rising hysteria over… Keep reading →

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Will SpaceX Be Ready For Launch Dec. 1st?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


NATIONAL HARBOR: When will the Air Force certify SpaceX as ready to launch military satellites — if they certify the upstart startup at all? The new chief of Air Force Space Command said this morning that “hopefully” he could certify SpaceX by December 1st. Just hours later, though, the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah… Keep reading →

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No US Commitment To Replace Russian RD-180 Rocket Engine, Yet

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: When the Air Force issued a Request for Information about an engine to replace the RD-180 it began to look as if they were serious about committing to build the first new rocket engine in decades. But we also received two new RD-180 engines from Russia the same day as the RFI went out, the United… Keep reading →

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US Can’t ‘Stick Our Heads In The Sand’ On Space Threats: Gen. Shelton

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… Keep reading →

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Intelsat Readies For ‘Epic’ Foray Into Military SatCom

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: For more than a decade, the US military has fumbled and groped and stumbled and, gradually, figured out ways to buy a mix of commercial satellite communications and dedicated military satellites so it could communicate and watch video from Predator, Global Hawk, and Reaper drones in theaters where military bandwidth was precious. For much… Keep reading →

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Gen. Shelton Supports New US Rocket Engine; Not Happy With Musk’s SpaceX

Posted by Colin Clark on


COLORADO SPRING: Message to Elon Musk of SpaceX: the head of Air Force Space Command is not really happy with you, and he personally supports development of a new rocket engine that would mean the United States did not have to depend on the Russians’ RD-180 rocket engine. I asked Gen. Willie Shelton, who will… Keep reading →

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ULA, SpaceX Rumble Shaping Up To Rival Tanker Wars

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: It is shaping up as one of the great corporate brawls in the aerospace world: snappy and feisty and hungry newcomer, SpaceX, versus the titan of heavy launch, the near-perfect expression of big corporatism, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin United Launch Alliance. The focus of their competition is obscure to most Americans: the purchase by the… Keep reading →

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Pentagon Mulls Building All-American Rocket Engines, Dropping Russian RD-180s

Posted by Colin Clark on


CAPITOL HILL: The Pentagon’s top space officials told Congress today they have launched a study to ascertain if the United States can build its own rocket engines so expensive and large spy and GPS satellites don’t have to be launched using Russian rocket engines, as they are now. Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space… Keep reading →

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New Spy Satellites Revealed By Air Force; Will Watch Other Sats

Posted by Colin Clark on


AFA WINTER, ORLANDO: The Air Force revealed today the existence of a new set of classified electro-optical satellites — the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSAP) — designed to spot other satellites and space debris. What effect might this have on nations, such as, say, China, who realize the enormous military advantage that space provides… Keep reading →

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Space Command Juggles Budget In Face Of North Korean Threat, Sequestration

Posted by Colin Clark on


COLORADO SPRINGS, NATIONAL SPACE SYMPOSIUM: Spend $5 million to help track possible threats like North Korean missile launches by leaving an Alaskan radar site on at full power. Turn off East Coast radar receivers that provide data about satellites and space debris. Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, has cut Space Fence… Keep reading →

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