Even before India tested its anti-satellite ASAT missile codename Mission Shakti on March 27, 2019, the US was already aware as hinted by DRDO Chief in its press conference and was actively observing the developments. During this time the US even denied visa to two of India’s top scientists – Secretary, Department of Defense Research and Development, Dr. G. Sateesh Reddy who is also the DRDO Chairman and eminent scientist Dr. S. Guruprasad – who were to attend an Indo-Pacific conference in Hawaii. The most intriguing part of US visa denial is that US itself had invited these two DRDO scientists.
Since the day of the test the US has been tracking the debris created by the incident through the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg, which is part of U.S. Strategic Command, maintaining a space catalog that tracks debris and other objects. The center operates the Space Surveillance Network, a worldwide system of ground-based radars along with ground-based and orbital telescopes. The 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, detected the launch. The National Space Defense Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado; and the 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, also supported the effort.
Soon after, there were calls, to put in place a system whereby the US can get paid from tracking such debris, the infrastructure for which is paid for by American taxpayers. “Destroying a satellite intentionally and creating debris is wrong. Some people like to test anti-satellite capabilities intentionally and create orbital debris fields that we today are still dealing with. And those same countries come to us for space situational awareness because of the debris field they themselves created. The space situational awareness provided by the U.S. military is paid by the American taxpayer and offered to the world for free. So the entire world needs to step up and say, If you’re going to do this, you’re going to pay a consequence” warned NASA Administrator James Bridenstine on the very same day of the test at the US House hearing.
However, as was explained by the DRDO Chief in the press conference, the Low Earth Orbit was specifically chosen for the test to minimize the harmful effects of debris and within 45 days all debris would either decay or burn-up while entering the atmosphere – the threat to the International Space Station being nil.
Space Weapon Demonstration
Now at a Space Conference held few days back the US Defense establishment has announced that it will carry out a demonstration of a Space Weapon, the details of which were not shared. Although not expressed explicitly, experts believe this is in direct response to the Indian ASAT test.
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Speaking at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that the US may “demonstrate some capabilities so our adversaries understand that they will not be able to deny us the use of space without consequences.” The conference, held at an Aerospace Corporation’s classified facility, included the air chiefs of Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“There are certain things we don’t discuss publicly about our capabilities. There may come a point where we demonstrate some capabilities so our adversaries understand that they will not be able to deny us the use of space without consequences. That capability needs to be one that’s understood by your adversary. They need to know there are certain things we can do, at least at some broad level. The final element of deterrence is uncertainty.”
- Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announcing the demonstration of a Space Weapon at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado
The US has increased its space control spending substantially over the last three years. Much of it is classified. Meanwhile Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has requested immediate funding of $10 million to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system – a Reactor on a Rocket (ROAR) – in space according to the Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget. The budget documents also mention a program referred to as Bounty Hunter:
“Bounty Hunter (BH) supports the Defensive Space Control of US systems in a specific AOR and provides the capacity to prevent effective adversary use of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I). Continuing yearly spiral development is needed to meet new user needs in an ever changing threat environment.”
Brian Weeden, a space warfare expert at the Secure World Foundation, cautioned against presuming that “this will be some sort of in-space or even offensive demonstration. It could be a test of an advanced non-kinetic capability or some kind of active defense against co-orbital ASATs. I’m not sure how much deterrence value there would be in demonstrating an offensive capability against a Russian or Chinese satellite, given that neither relies on satellites anywhere near as much as the US does.”
Apart from tracking from above mentioned facilities, the U.S. Air Force Space Fence on Kwajalein Atoll also detected India’s anti-satellite test and issued a break-up alert. The US Air Force believes this to be proof of the successful early testing of their Space Fence.
“We happened to be up during an endurance test and we were very excited to see that the system performed nominally,” said Matthew Hughes, Lockheed Martin Space Fence and Space Surveillance programs business development manager. “Space fence is all about the ability to identify break ups, maneuvers, closely spaced objects, proximity operations, new foreign launches.”
Space Fence is designed to track space debris in low earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). Lockheed Martin completed construction of Space Fence and is conducting testing and evaluation of its capabilities. The Air Force is scheduled to begin initial operation of the ground-based radar, which sends out a curtain of radio frequency energy wider than the continental United States, in the fourth quarter of this year.
At the Space Symposium the head of United States Strategic Command Gen. John Hyten also called for Space Rules in response to India’s ASAT test sharing for the first time American Space War plans, known as Olympic Defender, with a small number of allies. It is believed these allies referred to by Hyten are members of the Five Eyes.
Hyten said he agrees with Gen. John Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, that the key issue is to be ready to ingest the vast amounts of data the Space Fence is expected to generate. But right now, he said, there isn’t any way to judge whether the new plan will work. “We won’t know until the Space Fence comes on line,” he said. “That will be the big test.”
Hyten also said the new Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Enterprise Center declared Initial Operational Capability last week. This marks the beginning of the vast work involved in building a new global Nuclear Command and Control and Communciations system (NC3).
Five Eyes aka Project Echelon
The Five Eyes is an intelligence umbrella based on the foundations laid by the spies of East India Company. It emerged from an informal agreement related to the 1941 Atlantic Charter initially between United States and United Kingdom. The secret treaty was renewed with the passage of the 1943 BRUSA Agreement. In the following years it was extended to encompass Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Much of the sharing of information is performed via the ultra-sensitive STONEGHOST network, which contains “the western world’s most closely guarded secrets.” Later this operation was extended to Project Echelon. India is the number one target of Five Eyes.
It is under Five Eyes umbrella that US National Security Agency spies on India’s missile systems through signals intelligence program RAINFALL in Australia that successfully geo-located signals of Indian Nuclear Weapons storage facility and targeted it through two NSA stations INDRA and LEMONWOOD in Thailand.
Under Five Eyes the NSA also operates the so called SCS sites (Special Collection Service). The NSA has installed a super spy software named APPARITION in one of its SCS sites in New Delhi. The APPARITION program pinpoints the locations of people accessing the Internet across sensitive locations – that include our political, military and scientific institution.
Subsequent actionable intelligence information may lead to sending lethal Reaper drones to eliminate the target (the possible scenario of which is explained in our report on the SKYNET program synced with Aadhaar utilized for real-time assassinations). The Top Secret reports speak of an SCS surveillance unit being set up in the embassy campus in New Delhi that operated under the codename DAISY. However, the Indian Government has not responded or is yet to make a statement regarding this Embassy Espionage.
It should be noted that Gen. Hyten is the first high-ranking US military officer to comment on the need to find some sort of global accord to forgo debris creating weapons in the wake of the Indian test. His words, while measured, amounted to an implied criticism of Delhi’s move.
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