From the Magazine
The $2.4 billion Mars 2020 mission is just one example of NASA’s increasing reliance on artificial intelligence, although the term itself makes some people uneasy.
North Korea’s threat to strike Guam with a salvo of ballistic missiles has raised the stakes for a U.S. missile shield some see as compromised by potentially exploitable seams in its all-important space layer.
Small satellites need their own propulsion systems because most of the widely used chemical and electric propulsion technologies don’t fit well on shoebox-size satellites and they are difficult to scale down. Natalya Bailey, co-founder of Accion Systems, is well aware of this problem.
A member of President Trump's NASA transition team argues that treating space as a team sport won't get us there any faster.
For the last few years, NASA has promoted solar electric propulsion (SEP) as a key aspect of its long-term plans to send humans to Mars. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) was going to demonstrate one such advanced SEP system, with several 12.5-kilowatt thrusters. But ARM is no more.
The United States is close to sleepwalking through a major decision regarding its robotic Mars exploration plans — a decision that would depart from decades of commitment to exploring the red planet and potentially undermine 20 years of focused taxpayer investment.
Modern manufacturing and production is becoming increasingly complex, especially within highly regulated industries such as aerospace and defense. Ensuring quality in these industries can mean the difference between life and death.
With the end of the International Space Station program looming just over the horizon, the national space agencies that back the project are scrambling to make plans for what comes next. Nowhere is this discussion more fraught than in Russia, where the issue of post-ISS efforts are wrapped up in questions about Russia’s entire future in space.
It’s one thing to prepare for the eventuality of warfare in space. It’s another to assert that space warfare is inevitable. The task before us isn’t just to acquire capabilities to fight, if necessary, but also to prevent warfare from occurring. Success involves deterrence as well as reassurance in the form of diplomatic engagement.
China's counterspace strategy is based on taking advantage of not only its own strengths but also the weaknesses of its potential adversaries. They could use a new threat to achieve their ultimate goal of deterring U.S. military intervention in the Asia-Pacific theater and could accomplish this without firing a shot.
Beijing this month hosted the Global Space Exploration Conference, GLEX 2017, an occasion which China used effectively to declare its goals for space and call for further engagement with the space community. The event was the perfect setting, with around 1,000 participants, including heads of agencies, industry representatives, scientists and policy makers in attendance.
Chinese engineers are wrapping up work on the Chang’e-5 lunar mission for a targeted November launch atop a Long March 5 booster. It will depart from the newly completed Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province. If successful, this robotic mooncraft would carry the first lunar samples returned to Earth in over 40 years.
This month, the U.S. Department of Defense released its annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments. The report reflects the official views of DoD and the U.S. intelligence community on the state of the Chinese military and Chinese security activities. Its issuance has been protested annually by the People’s Republic of China as furthering perceptions of a “China threat.”
If you asked a fighter pilot during World War II what he needed in a plane, he would say, “I want to turn inside the enemy,” or superior maneuverability. Today, as we have firmly moved to space as the high ground, this maxim has never been truer.