The Air & Space Brief: Defending space fuel; Conference travel update; ‘Inspector’ satellites launched
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:
Defending gas stations in space: “As U.S. companies expand into space, how will the U.S. Space Force and other nations seek to advance and extend their defense responsibilities into that same environment?” Defense One asks. The recently inked deal to launch the first “gas station in space” highlights some of the questions the Space Force is mulling: since it's already defending near-Earth orbits, what will its responsibility be to defend U.S. interests in cislunar space and beyond?
Weapons to Ukraine: The U.S. has ramped up flights to Ukraine loaded with ammunition and weapons to supply Ukraine’s ground forces against a potential invasion by Russia. The U.S. has also approved the transfer of U.S.-made missiles from Baltic NATO members to Ukraine. Estonia is sending Javelin anti-armor missiles, while Latvia and Lithuania are sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and related equipment.
Conference travel OK: Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby “misspoke” last week when he told reporters that Pentagon officials could not travel to conferences amid the Omicron coronavirus spike.“Recently Mr. Kirby misspoke when responding to questions about current travel restrictions,” the Pentagon said Saturday in an unattributed emailed statement. The policy says officials have to get a waiver to be allowed to travel if either their installation or the location they are traveling to does not meet the criteria for movement.
Inspector satellites launched: The Space Force has two additional sets of powerful eyes in the sky now with the launch of two geosynchronous orbit “inspector” satellites launched Friday. The satellites will allow the Space Force “to not only locate and identify objects in this distant orbit, but also maneuver close to them in order to inspect them or assess their capabilities,” The Drive reports.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Jan. 25, 2004, NASA’s Opportunity Rover landed on Mars to begin a 14-year journey of mapping that planet’s surface and resources.
From Defense One
US Sends More Military Equipment to Ukraine // Marcus Weisgerber and Tara Copp: Latest deliveries to arrive today as DOD searches its inventory for more to send.
Will Space Force Protect Orbiting Gas Stations and Bases on the Moon? // Tara Copp: As U.S. companies venture farther from Earth, whether the newest service will protect them remains under discussion.