Accession Number:

ADA625656

Title:

Space Situational Awareness: Difficult, Expensive and Necessary

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

AIR AND SPACE POWER JOURNAL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2014-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

12.0

Abstract:

In 1990 Operation Desert Storm, which marked the first widespread use of precision-guided munitions and low-observable aircraft, introduced a new set of military technologies and capabilities. Perhaps, though, the most valuable lesson learned from that operation was that space assets could significantly improve military effectiveness through enhanced target identification, better damage assessment, and more efficient communications. Since Desert Storm, the United States has spent much effort and many dollars to refine space capabilities. In particular, the Global Positioning System GPS became fully operational for both military and civil users to enable navigation and weapon accuracy never attained in the past. Surveillance capabilities such as the Space-Based Infrared System emerged, reconnaissance assets became more proficient, and worldwide communication bandwidths increased dramatically. Weather satellites upgraded our prediction capabilities and shortened disaster-warning times. Many of these programs benefited the civil community primarily, though, they measurably helped the expertise of the US military. Although the Air Force deployed the major developments, both the land and sea forces profited greatly as well. As part of the development and fielding processes, we cultivated sophisticated methods for monitoring the health, position, and operational status of space vehicles. However, the evolution and installation of sensors to warn of and identify attacks on them were somewhat neglected. Even though some people believed that such sensors were important, the programs, in general, proceeded as though their distance from the surface of the earth and their speed conveyed upon them a charmed existence.

Subject Categories:

  • Space Navigation and Guidance
  • Astronautics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE