Monday, April 27, 2015

New Threats to U.S. Defense Satellites: '60 Minutes' Special Report

             USAF laser-guided telescope in Albuquerque, New Mexico  (Image Source: CBS News)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Sunday evening (April 26), the CBS Television news magazine, 60 Minutes, took the somewhat unusual step of using two of the three reporting segments of the hour to report on one topic: military competition in outer space, particularly between the United States and China. The two-part news report, reported by CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin, described new threats to satellites critical to American defense and communications.

The second segment of the television broadcast (Part 1 of the report) concentrated on the efforts of the U.S. Air Force Space Command to protect American satellites from anti-satellite technologies being advanced by nations such as Russia and China. This includes research being conducted at the Starfire Optical Range near Albuquerque, which includes special laser-guided telescopes.

The third segment (Part 2) specifically talked about the threats to U.S Department of Defense satellites in geo-synchronous orbit, used to watch for missile launches from other nations. Until recently, the extreme distance of these satellites in deep space was thought to make them invulnerable to attack. However, two years ago, the Chinese tested an anti-satellite weapon that went higher than previously reported, much closer to the height of U.S. missile warning satellites.

The U.S. Air Force Space Command is headed by General John Hyten, a self-acknowledged "space geek" whose father worked on the Saturn 5 rocket that sent 12 men to the Moon between 1969 and 1972. David Martin asked General Hyten, "What would the U.S. military do without space?" General Hyten responded, "What happens is you go back to World War II. You go back to industrial age warfare."

Complete transcript of both Parts 1 & 2, along with complete videos of both segments, as well as 2 video extras:
Link >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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