Official policy, not science fiction
On July 3, 2005, NASA and its Deep
Impact spacecraft successfully crashed an 820-pound "impactor"
into the comet Tempel 1. The force of the 23,000 mph collision, equal to approximately
5 tons of TNT, created a crater the size of a stadium, between two and 14 stories
While the positive scientific and technological aspects of the successful mission
have received splashy worldwide attention, scant notice has been paid to the
destructive military applications and capabilities demonstrated and suggested
by Deep Impact. In light of the weaponization of space that is being aggressively
pursued by the Bush administration, all space policy must be examined with
these potentially cataclysmic implications in mind.
While some scoff
that such thinking is alarmist, official government policies exhaustively
prove that space militarization is not only documented fact, but a top US priority---and
the subject of intensive policy making at the highest levels across successive
Corps: The Dangerous business of making the heavens a war zone" (originally
published in Covert Action Quarterly, April-June 2001), Karl Grossman, professor
of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, detailed
the critical space military initiatives, citing and quoting from the official
"The blueprint for the U.S. space military program is revealed in the
report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management
and Organization. The ‘Space Commission’ was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld,
now installed as the Bush-Cheney administration’s Secretary of Defense.
‘In the coming period,’ states the report issued January 11, 2001,
‘the U.S. will conduct operations to, from, in and through space in support
of its national interests both on the earth and in space.’
"It is possible to project power through and from space in response to
events anywhere in the world,’ it stresses… ‘Having this capability
would give the U.S. a much stronger deterrant and, in a conflict, an extraordinary
"The U.S. plans are (also) laid out in documents including the (1996)
Vision for 2020 report of the US Space Command…(which) proclaims the U.S.
Space Command’s mission---‘dominating the space dimension of military
operations to protect U.S. interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces
into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.’
"Vision for 2020 stresses the role of space in managing the global economy.
‘The globalization of the world economy will continue, with a widening
between haves and have-nots’, says the U.S. Space Command. The view is
that by controlling space and the Earth below, the U.S. will be able to keep
those have-nots in line."
Grossman also analyzed the US Space Command’s Long Range Plan (issued
in 1998), a top priority project that involved the investment of nearly 20 man-years
and 75 corporations (including Lockheed Martin, Rand, Raytheon, and others),
for the development and deployment of space-based weapons. Quoting from the
‘Now is the time…to begin developing space capabilities, innovative
concepts of operations for warfighting, and organizations that can meet the
challenges of the 21st century…space power in the 21st century looks similar
to previous military revolutions, such as aircraft-carrier warfare and the Blitzkrieg…The
United States will remain a global power and exert global leadership.’
"The Long Range Plan then continues on", wrote Grossman, "for
more than 100 pages for ‘Control of Space,’ ‘Full Spectrum
Dominance’, ‘Full Force Integration’, ‘Global Engagement’"."
Another knowledgeable observer of space militarization is Bruce K. Gagnon,
Coordinator of the Global
Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (their blog here).
the Moon and the Militarization of Space", Gagnon reported on the Bush
administration’s ramped-up space policy, which includes the deployment
of nuclear power and systems in space (Project
Prometheus, Nuclear Systems Initiative), a return mission to the moon, the
establishment of bases on the Moon, and an aggressive program for the colonization
In a recent piece, "Bush
Seeks Military Control of Space" (June 2005), Gagnon covered the Bush
administration’s new national space policy that will "give the Pentagon
the green light to move toward deployment of offensive weapons in space. The
new directive could allow deployment of lasers in space; attack vehicles that
descend on targets from space; killer satellites, which would disrupt or destroy
other nation's satellites; and tungsten rods fired from space platforms that
would gather speeds of over 7,000 mph and be able to penetrate underground targets."
Questioned specifically about the Deep Impact mission, Gagnon offered this
"First, we know that NASA routinely says these days that all of its missions
now are dual use---military and civilian at the same time. So, what might this
mission be doing of military value? One obvious thing is testing the capability
to identify a ‘target’ in space and then direct a space projectile
to hit the target object from a certain distance while traveling at great speed.
This technology would certainly be useful as the Pentagon develops the hit-to-kill
mechanisms necessary for ‘missile defense’, or more importantly,
for anti-satellite weapons.
"A second aspect of the mission that needs attention is developing the
technology to hit a planetary body that NASA suspects might contain precious
mineral or resources that could be mined in the future. This mission will gauge
a crater and in NASA’s words ‘reveal pristine material beneath’.
NASA is doing major work these days developing technologies and locating possible
places to mine the sky.
"NASA scientist John Lewis lays all this out in his book Mining the Sky:
Untold Riches from the Asteroid, Comet, and Planets. In a Congressional study
called Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, author John Collins talks about
the need to develop the military space technology that will allow the US to
control the shipping lanes on and off the Earth in the coming period, so the
aerospace industry can control who is able to mine the sky."
Space is not only the ultimate military "high ground"; it is the
frontier for pillage and colonization, and the battleground for coming superpower
conflicts with China and other rivals.
"The prospects for eventual profit and control of the new space frontier
are too high to be left to chance", observed Gagnon. "Clearly, since
the end of World War II, the US military has been planning and is now vigorously
developing space technologies that will give them control of the pathways on
an off the planet Earth. Just as the Spanish Armada and the British Navy were
created to protect their ‘interests and investments’ in the new
world, space is viewed today as open territory to be seized for eventual corporate
Did any of these nightmarish realities cross the minds of the NASA scientists
as they wildly celebrated the successful Deep Impact blast of July 3, 2005,
or those who watched the event unfold on television screens and through their
The acceleration of space militarization, pushed by Bush adminstration, has
raised appropriate alarm, among those who know. In addition to the Global
Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, the Union of Concerned
Scientists is opposing the Bush space agenda, and taking its case for treaties
prohibiting space weapons to Congress and the United Nations.
To again quote Gagnon, "the United Nations, to their credit, created the
Moon Treaty and the Outer Space Treaty as ways to circumvent the war-like tendencies
of humankind as we step out into the cosmos…but the US appears to be heading
in the opposite direction by creating enormous danger and conflict with the
current Nuclear Systems Initiative that will expand nuclear power and weapons
into space---all disguised as the noble effort to hunt for the ‘origins
of life’ in space. [ Similarly, the Deep Impact project is also being
lauded for "origins of life" research breakthroughs.—LC] Only
a lively and growing global debate about the ethics and morality of current
space policy will save us from igniting the harsh fires of Prometheus in the
heavens above us."
Unforunately, as noted by Grossman, these Promethean fires may already have
"U.S. military leaders have been blunt in describing U.S. plans to make
war in, from and into space, as General Joseph Ashy, then commander in chief
of the U.S. Space Command put it in 1996:
‘It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen. Some
people don’t want to hear this, and it sure isn’t in vogue, but---absolutely---we’re
going to fight in space. We’re going to fight from space, and we’re
going to fight into space,’ Ashy told Aviation Week & Space Technology."