Archive for the ‘satellites’ Category

US urges Russia to consider missile offer

February 9, 2009

The United States wants to boost cooperation with Russia on short- and medium-range missiles, a senior NATO diplomat said Monday, after Washington signalled a review of its missile shield plans.

“The administration is making a renewed offer, to say we would like to work with Russia on missile defence and we hope that Russia is more willing to discuss that,” the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.

He said Washington “genuinely wants to work with Russia on missile defence, believes that these threats, particularly the short- and medium-range ones, already exist.”

“We have a common interest with Russia in figuring out how to protect populations against these, we should be exploring how to do that,” he said.

The United States has been negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic to install 10 missile interceptors, which would not carry explosive warheads, and a radar system on their territories.

The move has angered Russia as it sees the system as a threat to its security, while Washington argues the proposed shield is only directed at “rogue states,” primarily Iran.

Russia had threatened to deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO and EU members, if Washington did not halt its shield plans.

Laying out a vision of new US foreign policy Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden sought to reach out to Moscow, in a speech described by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as positive.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Biden said the United States would only press ahead with its missile defence shield project “provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Nevertheless the NATO diplomat said President Barack Obama‘s administration was not shelving its plans, but that “it’s rather being prudent about the management of an expensive programme.”

“They want to take the time to do a review, to look at the test results, to make a judgement about the level of technological development,” he said.

AFP

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090209/p
l_afp/usmissilerussianato_20090209171848

Many Still Expect Obama To Surrender Missile Defense

February 9, 2009

Iran’s launch last week of a satellite using a homegrown rocket is another reminder of why Europe needs a missile defense — and needs to start building it now. Combine Iran’s improving missile technology with its nuclear aspirations, and it’s a lethal mix. This is especially timely given the debate inside the Obama Administration over whether to walk away from the U.S. promise to provide a defense shield for our European allies.

Wall Street Journal
Iran now joins eight countries with indigenous space-launch capability — an advance that, on the military side, translates into a step forward for its ballistic-missile technology. The threat isn’t immediate, as the satellite was small and lightweight compared to a nuclear warhead, but neither is Europe’s missile defense set to be deployed immediately. The reason to start early is precisely to be prepared, and not to have to scramble, if Iran develops its capability faster and the mullahs aren’t as benign as some think.

That’s why the Bush Administration pushed forward with a Europe-wide missile defense system to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic and built over the next six years. It’s also why every NATO country has endorsed the U.S.-led effort. They have done so twice — first among heads of state in Bucharest in April and again at a meeting of foreign ministers after the U.S. election. NATO also plans to pursue its own missile defenses in conjunction with the Polish and Czech sites.

The question now is whether the Obama Administration will stand by its predecessor’s promise or, as is widely anticipated, suspend the European program. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama suggested missile defense was either ineffective or too expensive, or both. His nominee for the third-ranking position at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy, has indicated that the deployment plans for Europe will be reviewed. In a speech over the weekend at the annual Munich security conference, Vice President Joseph Biden was ambiguous: “We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Suspending the program would have serious consequences. It would send a signal of American weakness to Iran, which the Obama Administration says it wishes to engage….

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1234
14254051961831.html

[Review & Outlook] 
Photo: AP

U.S. In Major New Space Race; Like It Or Not

January 13, 2009

Unlike the Cold War competition to put a man on the moon, the Obama administration faces a different kind of space race, with broader scientific, national-security and business implications.

A report released Monday by an industry group emphasizes those challenges, and warns that sweeping policy, budget and institutional changes are necessary to protect what it called America’s “perishable” lead in satellites, rockets and space exploration.

The study by the Aerospace Industries Association, which includes large firms such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., as well as numerous midsize contractors, is part of an effort to highlight how the U.S.’s priorities need to adapt to a changing reality in which more countries are pushing into space for political and industrial reasons.

By Andy Pasztor
The Wall Street Journal

While the U.S. government spends an estimated $100 billion annually on space efforts, far more than any other country, China, India, Japan, Russia and the European Union have all stepped up spending and are catching up in technical prowess.

“In a very real sense, the ‘space race’ is far from over,” said Marion Blakey, the association’s president and chief executive. “We might not be racing, but our global competitors certainly are.”

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12317
7787626773737.html

Above: Chinese astronauts.  The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in recent years building up a space program that it hopes will help China establish a space station by 2020.  Photo: European Pressphoto Agency