By Bruce K. Gagnon

It was the Persian Gulf war that convinced the U.S. military that "Space dominance and space control" are necessary. And it was the war in Kosovo that they used to show the world that they have achieved their goal. In a news release dated June 17, 1999 the U.S. Space Command proclaimed that "Any questions about the role or effectiveness of the use of space for military operations have been answered by NATO�s operation ALLIED FORCE."

The news release concludes with the determination that, "The Space Command�s Global Positioning System constellation of 24 satellites is credited with providing navigation and timing support to coordinate the actions of allied aircrews and naval forces operating in the region."

The Pentagon is so sure that whomever controls space will control the Earth and beyond that they are feverishly working to deploy anti-satellite weapons (ASAT�s) that will enable the U.S. to knock out competitors "eyes in the sky" during times of hostilities.

As the Space Command says in their slick brochure Vision for 2020, "Control of space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space if required."

The early deployment strategy of the military is to put into orbit the Kinetic energy ASAT, that would essentially smash into a rival�s satellite. Space Command hopes to be able to deploy the KASAT within the next five years.

While recently attending the 36th Space Congress at Cape Canaveral in Florida, I asked a panel of military officers the status of the ASAT program. One panelist, Col. Tom Clark, responded to my written question that the issue was "politically sensitive". He went on to say that ultimately the U.S. would "need an event to drive the public to support ASAT deployment. But it will happen. We are now talking, planning, doing research and development. Someone will attack one of our systems."

In the meantime Col. Clark assured the audience of 250-300 NASA workers, aerospace industry representatives and military officers that we have the "defensive" Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system that was recently approved by Congress. It is "obvious that dual use is clear", Col. Clark stated, referring to the fact that lasers in space could be fired either defensively or offensively.

One of the great problems for the military though is providing the need for massive power projection for their space-based weapons. In a study commissioned by Congress entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, author John Collins notes that "nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power". Collins concludes that nuclear reactors "could meet multimegawatt needs of space-based lasers, neutral particle beams, mass drivers, and railguns."

In fact, because of the growing demand for space nuclear power, the Department of Energy (DoE) is now studying the reopening of previously closed production facilities at their deadly string of labs across the U.S. Between NASA�s demand for future nuclear powered space probes and the Space Command�s desire for nuclear powered space weapons, we could see a return of massive contamination problems at the labs. Over 244 cases of worker contamination were reported at Los Alamos labs in New Mexico between 1993-95 as DoE prepared the plutonium generators for NASA�s Cassini space mission. Work is also on-going at Los Alamos on the nuclear rocket to Mars, with nuclear reactors for engines.

The Space Command�s Vision for 2020 not only speaks of controlling the Earth and the sky above our planet. They also envision controlling the space beyond as NASA and aerospace corporations move out to mine the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies for minerals in coming years. Like Queen Isabella of Spain, who paid for the Columbus exploration in hopes of greater economic rewards, these forces are lining up to harvest the enormous benefits expected from the exploitation of the outer reaches.

Vision for 2020 states that "Due to the importance of commerce and its affects on national security, the U.S. may evolve into the guardian of space commerce � similar to the historical example of navies protecting sea commerce."

Just to make sure, the aerospace industry is taking no chances. A coalition of aerospace corporations are now engaged in a campaign called the "Declaration of Space Leadership" and have had their congressional allies introduce it as a House resolution. Among other things the "declaration" calls to fund space "defensive" systems and fund NASA at levels that guarantees "American leadership in the exploration of space". (Check industry�s web site at

Much of the organizing tactic of the aerospace corporations is to brainwash the youth into a knee jerk support of everything "space". NASA now has a program to reach every science teacher in the U.S. with their space puffery. Think of it this way. In 2020 these kids will be taxpayers and the industry hopes that they will be programmed to believe that we should spend the national treasury to go to Mars and that war in space is inevitable.

Not everyone is cheering though. Russia and China are deeply concerned, not only about the U.S. circumventing the ABM and Outer Space Treaties, but also about U.S. plans to be Master of Space as the Space Command uniform patch reads. Russia and China have both called for the U.N. Conference on Disarmament to form an ad hoc committee on the "prevention of an arms race in outer space" but the U.S. is now blocking such a process.

During the past year the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has expanded its work to organize opposition to the U.S. space agenda. As the reality of the recent congressional vote on BMD has become clear citizens all over the world are angry. They see the bad seed of space exploitation and warfare as something we must move to stop now before it is too late.

As we internationally face domestic program cuts from the New World Order it becomes clear where much of that money will be going. The International Space Station is now at $100 billion. Over $100 billion has been spent on Star Wars to-date. Regular launch failures at Cape Canaveral waste billions of tax dollars while we are told that there is no money for health care, child care, and other important programs.

We are now building pyramids to the heavens and the aerospace industry know that they must convince the public that their "plans for space" are vital, exciting, and patriotic. The time has come for a rigorous international debate and campaign around the entire space program. Won�t you please join with us?


The contents herein are Copyright 1999, Global Network/Bruce Gagnon, the article may be reproduced for non-profit purposes as long as the source is recognised, otherwise reproduction can be arranged through the Global Network.

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