“The large community” of space leaders gathered together in July and August to discuss their options in dealing with the threat posed by China’s demonstrated anti-satellite capability, specifically “to look at protections,” according to Ron Sega, the outgoing undersecretary of the Air Force. At a meeting with reporters yesterday, Sega said the obvious first steps are to develop improved space situational awareness—already a priority before the Chinese ASAT test. Beyond that, the group considered variations on anti-jamming systems, radiation hardening, and other steps already being taken. For the future, Sega said, the solution may lie in smaller satellites and transferring some intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance functions to other domains. The group looked at “what makes sense to do from space, what makes sense to do from air, and on the surface—ground or sea—and how they should be able to complement each other.” The overall solution seems to be to make the whole scheme “more robust,” Sega said, meaning that it would be able to withstand the loss of some pieces if the whole is integrated. He said another meeting would take place next month, indicating the issue is being considered with some urgency. (Want more on the ASAT concern, read “Moseley’s Warning.”
For 30 days in April and May, a group of expeditionary communications technicians got together at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, with one task: Find a way for the F-35 to transfer data on remote or contested Pacific islands.