A new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies offers the views of senior US “decision-makers and policy-shapers” about the extent of the biological weapons threat—in general, it is increasing. Author Amy Smithson says this survey “constitutes the first systematic attempt to poll senior US decision-makers and policy-shapers about the nature of the biological weapons threat and the policy options to address it.” Among the results is the considered opinion that the bio threat is “grave” when compared to nuclear weapons and chemical weapons. They believe the bio threat is significantly greater than the chemical threat. Some reckon that bio threats equal nuclear threats in their “potential for catastrophic consequences.” When asked about the likelihood that bio weapons would be used within five years or 10 years, a majority of survey respondents indicated an attack was more likely within 10 years. Still, on the five-year scale, about a third think a bio attack is “somewhat likely” and a smaller number feel it’s “very likely.”
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.