spy-satelliteIn a recent critique of the U.S. Space program, the U.S. Strategic Command Chief General Kevin Chilton announced that we should put less money into developing new state-of-the-art space systems and instead put more money into stocking up on satellites that we can launch into space as the need arises. New satellite technology focuses on GPS, missile early warning satellites, and advanced communications. Sadly, the U.S. is not on the cutting edge of this technology, but rather the tail end. The satellites we do have in space are slated to expire in the near future, and we were supposed to have new, more advanced versions ready to go. But these old satellites lasted longer then expected, allowing the government to push back the date when the new satellites were supposed to be ready and instead focus more on developing even newer technology. This caused a collective feeling that if a new effort took longer, so what, because the older satellites would last years past expectations. This is where General Kevin Chilton is saying that we should launch more old reliable satellites rather than spending millions on new technology.

an approximation of all the satellites and other debris in orbit around the Earth. Since the start of the space age the ESA estimates that 6,000 satellites have been launched, 800 of which are still operational

Released by the European Space Agency (ESA), this image depicts an approximation of all the satellites and other debris in orbit around the Earth. Since the start of the space age the ESA estimates that 6,000 satellites have been launched, 800 of which are still operational.

Chilton also wants more tools in space that will give us information on what’s already orbiting the Earth, whether it is something potential foes put up there, or if it is space debris that can damage American orbiters. Chilton wants to equip the new satellites with tons of sensors, which will not only tell us what else is in space, but will also be beneficial for missile defense missions. He wants to invest more money in intelligence analysis to see what other nations are doing so that “so we know all about these systems before they are launched.” Chilton’s analysis of where the money should be spent seems to focus more on just having satellites in orbit and finding out what else is going on out there rather than spending countless dollars on the latest cutting edge tech.

(Via AirForceTimes)

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