THE COMING OF BATTLE STARS

Mankind is at present battling with an energy crisis and the depletion of natural resources. U.S. professor John S. Lewis already in 1997 (Mining the Sky) argued that the solution in both cases lies beyond earth. We could tap the vast resources of the solar system, particularly the asteroids as a source of resources and the sun as a source of power. He also described how it would be possible to colonize Mars. It would be possible by private enterprise, not as a government project.

The book has been described as the clearest and most accessible book on the economy of a space exploration. Most of the ideas could well be maturing in the next 20 – 30 years or even sooner. Dr. Lewis argues, realistically, for space industrialization.

In 2012 it is also realistic to think about the coming of great battlestars in space. According to George Friedman’s book The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (2009) U.S. space forces could well in 2045 be an addition to ground forces, navy, and air force. There could be large U.S. military space stations with crews of hundreds as well as satellite battle groups. Looking at trends in military doctrine and in the space industry these developments could not only be possible but even likely.

One example of coming space weapons could be U.S. Battle Stars of the future. They could be geosynchronous orbit space stations to support U.S. military operations worldwide. They could provide command and control (C2) of swarms of satellites in orbit organized in satellite battle groups. Smaller defensive satellites could protect more expensive satellites that provide communications, navigation, and even strike platforms that can engage targets on Earth or in space. The Battle Stars can provide targeting information and C2 to ground-based unmanned hypersonic aircraft to act as a primary strike capability. The importance of those Battle Stars could be so great that without them the warfaring capability of the United States could be almost paralyzed.

The crucial innovation of the Battle Star would be that C2 for space forces would be accomplished from space rather than from earth. Space provides additional speed and a natural line of sight plus secure communications.

How can crews of hundreds in space be sustained? Trends in space industry makes it possible to reflect on a possible future path. Space commercialization of coming decades will offer a robust ability to work in space. New companies will partly be subsidized by federal R&D dollars, much of them coming from Pentagon.

Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico, offers an initial step. It shows the way to new entrepreneurial and innovative firms into a broadening space market. Some of these companies already exist. Virgin Galactic, Armadillo Aerospace, and others are betting their business plans on the success of space tourism. Other future companies may benefit from cost reductions for orbital launches and important leaps in flight safety. This could call forth future Battle Stars so vital to the national security of the West.

Given thirty years, the “New Space” industry may very well be moving C2 to space stations staffed with military personnel. There is also an advantage of being able to station maintenance personnel in orbit to respond to spacecraft anomalies.

The military space enterprise will be depending to a great extent on the success of the New Space industry. If this industry succeeds the current techniques and assumptions of military space power will dramatically change.
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The Age of the Great Battlestars may not be science fiction, but perhaps a challenge just over the horizon for military space.

This contribution is influenced by the writings of Bren Ziarnick, Economic Developer and Space Industry Analyst, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

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2 Responses to “THE COMING OF BATTLE STARS”

  1. Julius Musolf Says:

    At the International Space Station ISS repairs are often needed on the exterior, the problem is it is a lot of work to send out a manned space walk to do this. Astronauts need oxygen and they have the problems of human error. Yet if we use robots, well they do not complain, unless programmed too. Robots in fact could spend months to fix something, astronauts five day space walk missions are about all we can muster right now and if we cannot get it done in time, imagine the cost for another launch. What about Fatigue factors, which take a toll on the organic components of the human body? Costs to send up a space crew to do repairs can be millions if not billions of dollars.*

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    • gautic01 Says:

      Yes, it is true there will be large costs but these costs may be necessary to create security in the West.

      Gautic01

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