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US Air Force to Put Sensors on Allies’ Satellites

Published: April 21, 2018
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Source: Defense One

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The U.S. Air Force is planning to put sensors on allies’ satellites to boost deterrence, increase resiliency — and simply get them to orbit sooner.

The move is intended to diversify the makeup of military spacecraft that circle the Earth, better protecting them from an enemy attack and persuading Russia and China to think twice before launching a war in space, service officials say.

“When you can complicate the decision-making of an adversary, particularly in crisis, you have have a greater deterrent effect because they have to think about consequences in different ways,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Wednesday at the National Space Symposium, an annual gathering of more than 14,000 military and commercial space professionals.

Spreading out satellites in the manner makes military assets in space more resilient — a term often used by Air Force leaders in recent years to describe spacecraft that can better withstand an enemy attack.

Military officials fear that America’s large, expensive military spacecraft — that provide, for example, global positioning coordinates, communications, and intelligence — could fall victim to existing and future Chinese or Russian anti-satellite weapons.

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