Thursday, May 26, 2005

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

A string of fairly interesting Space Power related bits and bobs up at DefenseTech.

Here, here, here.

It's a subject I'm interested in and have pursued to the best of my ability, but I must admit I've fallen behind on the latest developments recently because my schedule has been so full of other things.

One of the most interesting things about the Astropolitics debate must be the extent to which it's very much a first come first served, winner takes all state of affairs. It's like Sea Power based geostrategy, only this time it goes up to 11.* Protestations regarding American intentions are surely desperately naive and unrealistic. Regardless of the "morality" of American space ambitions, unless other powers are prepared to make a play for the main chance themselves (and they mostly aren't with the exception of the Chinese - and if it's between the Chinese and the Americans one would hope that most thinking individuals would recognise where their bread is buttered), objections don't really amount to much more than stamping feet and going, "Stop, or I'll shout stop again!".

The willingness of certain players in the European Space effort to indulge the PRC with access to what could at best be described as distinctly dual-use satellite and communications technology doesn't strengthen the high dudgeon-based case against American militarisation of space either.


*I refuse to accept that Spinal Tap and the militarisation of space cannot by comfortable bedfellows. If you don't get the reference, you are the one with the problem. Just consider yourself lucky I haven't figured out how to work Transformers: The Movie into it...

2 Comments:

Blogger Bill Petti said...

Are you kidding me? Anyone who can provide defense/military analysis while quoting Zero Wing must be worth reading. Consider yourself blogrolled....

10:47 PM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

Here's a hint "more than meets the eye" and "robots in disguise" would work fairly well, as in Chinese space efforts, more than meets the eye, it's space militarization in disguise.

It's your own fault. You didn't say the Transformers references had to be good.

On a more serious note, space weaponry depends on cheap launch. Rockets simply aren't going to cut it for launch cheap enough to matter for this application. The space weapons crowd is hostage to exotic launch technologies with the two leading contenders there being the space elevator (optimistic launch date April 2018) and rail guns. If launch cost is $100/kg instead of $10,000/kg space militarization is well within the reach of wealthy individuals as well as all the great powers.

At that point, all the impractical space weapons ideas suddenly turn practical and the crazy dreamers of this era turn into prescient visionaries. The only thing wrong with that revisionism is that none of the air force people seem to emphasize the utter impracticality of it all until cheap launch arrives. Now that would be visionary.

11:15 AM  

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