Elon Musk’s SpaceX is hard at work launching satellites for its StarLink program.
In total, it will launch over 4,000 to low-Earth orbit where the mega-constellation will provide high-speed, low-latency internet to just about any location on Earth.
The FCC has given the green light for SpaceX to launch up to 12,000 satellites and paperwork has been filed with an international regulator that could open the door for over 40,000 satellites in total.
Almost immediately after the first batch of 60 Starlink space routers launched last year, many were surprised by how reflective the satellites were, moving across the twilight sky in long, single-file trains, increasing UFO sightings and mucking up a lot of astronomical observations.
“We’ll take corrective action if it’s above zero (impacts),” Musk said. “We’re running a bunch of experiments.”
The idea is to have the satellites allegedly serve an entirely humanitarian and civilian purpose – provide high-speed internet.
However, that appears to be entirely contrary to the truth.
In February 2020, the US Air Force and SpaceX announced that they would collaborate for a live fire exercise on April 8th.
Air Force acquisition chief William Roper told reporters at the Pentagon that the Air Force and SpaceX will conduct an event on April 8, together with other branches of the U.S. military, that will see SpaceX Starlink satellites link up with multiple armed forces systems in a “massive” live fire exercise.
“SpaceX has been a great industry partner for us,” Roper said. “They are very excited and we are excited to learn more about their satellites through the demonstration.”
The demonstration will reportedly involve shooting down a drone and a cruise missile and will take place at several different sites including Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The massive tests will also include ground forces, submarines, ships, and a variety of space-based assets.
The live fire exercise will be part of a larger test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), a new communications ecosystem designed to enable Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), allowing U.S. forces and allies to coordinate military operations in real-time across all domains, such as sea, land, air, space and cyber operations.
Roper said that his “hope for this event, unlike the first event, is that we have an equal measure of things that fail for things that succeeded.”
Roper has also said that the new ABMS system will help replace the aging, rickety fleet of E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) command aircraft.
It will also add new capabilities that leverage the latest in machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to better predict what types of information users want from the system and more prominently push that information to them.
“We’ve come so far in ABMS that we realize that it’s bigger than just replacing the capability that JSTARS provides,” Roper said. “If you get ABMS right, you’ve just built the military’s ‘internet of things.’ That’s super exciting.”
Additionally, SpaceX will help the US military in Arctic communications.
The U.S. Air Force conducted initial tests, outside the Arctic, using commercial satellites. During a recent exercise a U.S. Air Force AC-130 plane connected with SpaceX’s high-bandwidth Starlink satellites. Future demonstrations involving Iridium and OneWeb satellite constellations are planned.
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