Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Has the war in space begun?

"An EMP attack is easy."
Let's put a few recent articles together.

Start with this worry about North Korean launching an EMP attack against us from a satellite:
North Korea can launch an EMP attack before it has developed nuclear missile technology, and EMP may be far more deadly. 
An EMP disaster from a high-altitude blast seems like science fiction: There is a silent flash high in the sky, and everything using electricity just … stops. Cars stop, power goes out, the Internet dies, satellites quit working, landline and mobile phone systems go out, and computers are destroyed. In a moment, we are back to 1850. 
An EMP attack requires only a small, light nuclear weapon and the ability to launch it as a satellite. Once over the U.S., it is detonated. Already, two satellites launched by North Korea cross the U.S. every day.
Do they contain nuclear weapons? Probably not, but how can we know?
An article at space.com discusses 10 space weapons, including satellites:
With so many satellites orbiting the Earth, how hard would it be to outfit one with a weapon ready to fire at the Earth, or other satellites, as needs dictated? While such a concept would go against agreements such as the Outer Space Treaty, which bans weapons of mass destruction in orbit, a few military organizations have discussed it in recent years by. 
One famous U.S. project from the 1950s was Project Thor, which never got past the conceptual stage. Various concepts for space weapons over the years included "Rods from God," which would drop kinetic-energy weapons from orbit, as well as small satellites that would have onboard targeting systems allowing them to aim at other satellites or at the ground below.
It also mentions the X-37B orbital test vehicle:
After four missions in space, it's still not fully clear what the X-37B space plane is doing up there in orbit — but some people have speculated that the vehicle could be some sort of Air Force weapon. 
Just doing research.
 The reusable plane looks like a smaller version of NASA's space shuttle, but it is operated robotically and can stay in orbit for more than a year at a time. For its fourth (ongoing) mission, in 2015, the U.S. military confirmed a couple of the payloads — a NASA advanced materials investigation and an Air Force experimental propulsion system, for example — but most details about X-37B missions remain classified.
An Air Force Tech Report video in 2015 had many ideas about what the plane could be doing up there, such as bombing from space, interfering with enemy satellites, performing reconnaissance or perhaps doing all of the above at the same time. But Air Force officials have always denied that the X-37B is a weapon, stressing that the spacecraft is testing out technologies for future spacecraft and carrying experiments to and from space.
And it recently returned from space:
After circling Earth for an unprecedented 718 days, the X-37B touched down Sunday, May 7, at  Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Most of the X-37B's payloads and activities are classified, leading to some speculation that the space plane could be a weapon of some sort, perhaps a disabler of enemy satellites. But Air Force officials have always strongly refuted that notion, stressing that the vehicle is simply testing technologies on orbit.
Uh huh.

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