Tumbling Dice

North Korea’s recently launched satellite is tumbling in low-Earth orbit and “I do not think it is functional,” Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Lt. Gen. John Raymond said Thursday. The satellite is “clearly in a non-stable orbit,” Raymond told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., but he didn’t want to speculate how long the orbit might last. Of more concern is the fact that North Korea—and potentially Iran, which also has an ambitious and aggressive rocket development program—can achieve a “dual purpose” with their satellite launch efforts. “The ability to put a satellite in orbit,” Raymond said, also confers the ability to lob a “harmful missile” at some distance. Raymond’s previous job was as chief of Space Command’s 14th Air Force, and he made a pitch for full funding of USAF’s space situational awareness and other space efforts, like the Space Fence. “The only way to deter” a war in space, Raymond said, is “to prepare” for one.