We worry about all the war and destruction on earth and then we also must worry about war in our skies. Why must there always be a threat somewhere? Without even noticing much of our daily activities depend on satellites in space and for our Military, even war depends on things in space. Satellites are used to communicate with troops, gather intelligence, fly drones and target other weapons. We have arrived in the Star Wars Era. Now we have to worry about how safe are our satellites in space. China in particular has been testing anti-satellite weapons that could break our eyes and ears in space. It would cripple our society in general.
No one wants a war in space but we must protect our work there orbiting the planet. There is a branch of the Air Force called Space Command that is our watch dog in space. You have never heard of Space Command because none of its activity takes place here on earth. In Albuquerque, New Mexico there is The Starfire Optical Range which is a research center that becomes very much alive at night. The roof opens and the outer layer of the building retracts and a object that could be part of the Star Wars Movie appears. It shoots a high power Lazar into the sky that has a high power telescope in it so the Air Force can get a better look to space.
Remotely powered aircraft and most weather related information did not exist before space exploration. Now we can attack any target on the planet at any time in any weather thanks to our space communication. Without our satellites we would go back to industrial age warfare as seen in World War II. So keep feeding those pigeons in case we need them to put paper messages around their ankles and set them in a direction. No, we have to realize that U.S. Satellites are no longer safe from attacks. 11 countries including Iran and North Korea now have the ability to launch objects into orbit. Russia and China have been testing new anti satellite weapons.
If we are threatened in space we have the right to protect ourselves. Space Command is not NASA. It has 38,000 Airmen and 134 locations around the world. One of their most important missions is to make sure that satellites can get into space like the Launchpad in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The United States has more satellites in space than any other nation; over 500 and counting. More than 30 Military and civilian launches will take place this year from space command centers in Florida and California. The Pentagon reports that it spends more than $10Billion dollars per year per base. The price of technology is costly. It could be as much as $25Billion dollars per year if you add on the cost of spy satellites and other classified spending. That is more money being spent on NASA and any other space program in the world.
America provides free to the world our GPS Satellite technology. The United States has 31 active GPS Satellites in orbit working now. A lot more than cell phones and smart bombs depend on them. Your bank AT Ms, Cell Phone Towers and Power Grids use those signals. Farmers use GPS to work their fields. Most of the world relies on our GPS Technology yet they are not grateful and we feel the need to protect them. It takes 8 people to direct them and some of our directors are as young as 19 years old. Yes, our youngsters who were brought up on sci-fi games are some of our brightest assets today in space.