As the U.S. struggles in a low tech war in Iraq, military contractors, scientists and Pentagon experts work diligently on the next possible war, this time to be fought from outer space. And even as a gentleman's agreement has existed since the 1950's between Russia and the U.S. not to weaponize space beyond communications satellites or surveillance, there is a steady stream of evidence that China, Russia and the U.S. all have some serious space based weapons research and projects underway.
In an October 2001 report, entitled the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Bush Administration firmly committed the U.S. military to "exploit space for military purposes", further signaling the end of years of the peaceful conquest of space for mutual scientific purposes and the formal start to a new arms race in the heavens between the world's leading military powers.
While Russian military efforts so far largely relate to the manufacture of hand-held units that can block GPS transmissions for up to 120 miles above the earth, Chinese efforts have included the recent successful test of satellite killer to electronically cut off U.S. military use of satellites in the Pacific area in the event of situation such as a lightning quick assault on Taiwan.
But the American space efforts have so far been more frightening in their nature, and could certainly spur similar Russian and Chinese programs -- such as the "Rods From God" project in which a killer platform in space fires tungsten rods one foot in diameter and 25 feet long at objects on Earth at speeds up to 12,000 feet per second -- where the force from space would completely devastate objects on Earth such as hardened bunkers with the same sort of concentrated force as small atomic bombs. No explosives are needed for such a weapon. The sheer force from a fall from space and the speed create a small meteor-like impact on Earth targets.
Other possible weapons program include the use of lasers or even sound waves from space to destroy satellites in space or kill troops or tanks on Earth. Some hypersonic space plane projects are likely to attack with lasers or other high-tech weapons from space. However, many of the space based weapons by China, Russia and the U.S. will likely involve putting unmanned killer technology in orbit to hover above nations that can be given kill orders at any time a serious military event between the nations develop.
Citizens of the world will have to decide whether they want to see a slow but steady slide towards the weaponization of space and the breakdown of the mutual scientific exploration by the leading nations of the world. But the Bush Administration signaled the beginning of the new arms race in space back in 2001, and the clear intent to allow various treaties and agreements to lapse with Russia involving anti-ballistic missile use and deployment.
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