HONOLULU — “It’s not about space. It’s about us down here, being able to work together.”
That was the message from General Lance W. Lord, commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command today as he spoke to international fellows attending the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.
Lord provided more than 100 Fellows from 34 countries a general overview of the U.S. Space program. He spoke of the impact that space operations have on global community, both militarily and economically. From satellite broadcast to pagers to global positioning, the environment of space is the new “high frontier” and the U.S. Air Force Space Command serves as its guardian.
Many nations operate in space today or use services based on satellites in space. “It is important to collaborate with our neighbors,” said Lord. One of the services the U.S. Space Command provides is the tracking of more than 10,000 objects in space. According to Lord, the command supported the recent Chinese space program by tracking objects during the Chinese craft’s reentry into earth’s orbit.
Working together is a matter of international security. According to Lord, everyone reserves the right to operate in space. They also have a right to defend against the space environment. Interoperability and cooperation are important as the global economy grows in their reliance on space capabilities.
U.S. Air Force Space Command is leading the way on the high frontier as they develop new programs such as space radar and recapitalize existing capabilities.
The Space Command is also looking at ways to make satellites and satellite launches cheaper and also reduce the amount of time it takes to launch into space from months/weeks to hours/days. Doing this will increase responsiveness to international needs such as the ability to send up a satellite to help gather information and improve communications when dealing with international disasters such as last year’s tsunami.