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"SDA Director: Launching a Nuclear Weapon in Space Would Be ‘Attack on the World’"

  • 28 Feb 2024 09:13
    Message # 13321896


    Feb. 27, 2024 | By Greg Hadley

    RESTON, Va.—Space Development Agency director Derek M. Tournear, the driving force behind the Space Force’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, said the agency won’t change its strategy in the face of reports that Russia is developing a space-based nuclear weapon.

    “We are not planning on making sure that all of our satellites are extremely resilient to such an attack,” Tournear said. “By the nature of our orbit at 1,000 kilometers … we are more hardened than most.” 

    Tournear acknowledged that such a weapon could be devastating to satellites in low-Earth orbit, creating both debris and long-lasting radiation. The Space Force’s goal of putting hundreds of new missile warning, missile tracking, and data transport satellites into orbit represents a massive expansion in the number and resilience of space-based assets in case of attack. But he acknowledged that a nuclear attack is more threatening than a direct ascent anti-satellite weapon launched from Earth, because it could damage the entire region of space, leaving debris and lasting radiation in the band.

    With so many nodes in space, the PWSA was designed to be “essentially self-healing,” Tournear said Feb. 27 at the National Security Space Association conference. If one satellite fails or is attacked, others provide redundancy and resiliency and the data is rerouted, keeping capabilities uninterrupted. 



    The Blake Brief Will New Space Be Nuclear?

    Curt Blake, Senior Of Counsel, and Peter Bratton, Associate, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

    Over the last 70 years, advancements in nuclear technology, space exploration and international law have paralleled and informed each another. This article looks at three dramatic developments in the course of that intertwined history.


    From the detonation of nuclear bombs in LEO and targets aimed at on the moon, on through the development of international legal accords against using nuclear weaponry in space, and all the way through the political storms of nuclear accidents, there has now emerged a new consensus that our loftier space ambitions cannot afford to keep nuclear on the sidelines.

    Last modified: 29 Feb 2024 18:40 | Anonymous member

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