CNN explores space warfare, US military’s use of GPS

January 26, 2017  - By

Photo: Shiyan

A spaceborne laser zaps a GPS satellite, disabling it.

A “kamikaze” satellite hits and destroys other nations’ critical satellites.

Another satellite moves beside an Intelsat bird — and listens in.

A new CNN special considers all of these possibilities in an exploration of an arms race in space, showcasing the devastation that would be caused by space warfare and how the U.S. military is preparing.

War in Space: The Next Battlefield” premiered Nov. 29 on CNN. It provides the general public with an understanding of the critical nature of GPS, ranging from mundane activities such as daily commutes and withdrawing money from a bank, to the reliance on GPS for soldiers and intelligence agencies defending the U.S.

The documentary explores the belief by many in the military and civilian experts that war in space is inevitable, with particular attention to methods China and Russia might use to interfere with or disable GPS.

CNN goes inside Lockheed Martin’s facility, where it is building the next-generation GPS III satellite, as well as U.S. Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, and visits the 2SOPS team at Schriever Air Force Base.

CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto interviews the chain of command for space warfare, including Gen. William L. Shelton and Gen. John Hyten, both former commanders of Air Force Space Command. (Gen. Hyten is now commander of U.S. Strategic Command).

Also interviewed are Adm. Cecil Haney (Ret.), former commander of U.S. Strategic Command; Lt. Gen. David Buck, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space; and Defensive Duty Officer 1st Lt. Andrew Engle, a newly created position to monitor threats in space.

If you haven’t seen this documentary, you can still watch it through on demand on cable and via the CNNgo app.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in GNSS, Opinions

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

1 Comment on "CNN explores space warfare, US military’s use of GPS"

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  1. William K. says:

    Attacking satellites is not a new concept and it is certainly within the realm of what even a third-rate power could do. Also, probably the satellites could be damaged by a laser beam fired from earth without any rocket being launched at all. That concern about GPS disruption is totally valid, just look at the damage already done by those using spoofing technology. It was not wise to place so much dependence on a resource so subject to disruption. So now we need to Discover alternatives that are more robust and not subject to disruption. Possibly along the lines of “LORAN”, but not subject to jamming. In addition I advocate the use of missiles set to follow and destroy the terrestrial located transmitters of the spoofing signals. Serious damage to the operators might tend to reduce the frequency of such activities.