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Why Congress’s newest space advocate says the U.S. faces a ‘Sputnik moment’


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An excellent read and thoughtful well researched article. I agree we are at a critical moment. In more ways than the article suggests.




"Bridenstine, a Navy fighter pilot who still serves in the National Guard, said that space “could be our Achilles’ heel.” Concerns that China and Russia could become potential adversaries in space makes this “our Sputnik moment,” he said, referring to the Soviet satellite that orbited Earth during the Cold War.


The Pentagon and intelligence agencies have been increasingly concerned that space is quickly becoming a contested environment with the potential to become a new battleground. National security officials are concerned especially that the satellites the United States relies on for communication, reconnaissance and navigation for weapons could be vulnerable.


In 2007, China launched a missile that blew up one of its satellites, a show of force that surprised U.S. officials. Russia has a satellite in orbit that U.S. officials are concerned could interfere with sensitive space assets.


Indeed, at a later speech, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the commander of the Space Command, said the command was shifting to be able to treat space as a contested domain. "It's not all about the airplane," he said.


Part of Bridenstine’s bill would help the Pentagon transition from a few large and very expensive U.S. government satellites to creating a distributed system of smaller, less-expensive ones. That way, if one satellite is compromised, there are still others in the fleet that could take over. He also said the Pentagon should focus on buying services — such as weather data and Earth observation information — from commercial providers instead of owning and operating all the systems itself.


Bridenstine said NASA has become a “jack of all trades” that should revert back to focusing almost exclusively on human exploration and pioneering the cosmos. That was its main mission in 1958, when the agency was created, and it propelled the agency through the Apollo era, when it sent a man to the moon within a decade, he said."


The bill being introduced to try and close the gaps covered in the article is also covered in the full article here"


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Very much thanks, Derek, for bringing this to our attention. I had never even heard of Rep. Bridenstine till this. His web site is good. My take away of his "American Space Renaissance Act" is this... from his goals...

  • Project military strength and protect our space based capabilities
  • Provide certainty to encourage commercial space innovation
  • Promote stability, accountability, and mission clarity at NASA

Those of us that achieved a good professional livelihood in the Computer industry owe a huge debt of gratitude to the old NASA Moon Program started by JFK. Too bad we don't have leaders like that anymore.


Thanks again, Derek. Hope things are drying out down there.


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YW Jim,

I agree with you on the bill having worthy and overdue goals. I hadn't heard of him or it before the article either. My focus has been on Space X for the last ten years or more.


And us Air Force types, well me anyway, always wanted to get over to Space Command. I never made it but did teach across town for three years, while they were forming it at our annual Corona conferences.


It was another age, when sanity reigned in Camelot.

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