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Military Space Force

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Military Space Force

What to study?

For Prelims: Space force- composition and functions.

For Mains: Space force- the idea, concerns, challenges and the need for free outer- space.

Context: United States President Donald Trump has signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, authorising the establishment of Space Force which would become the sixth branch of the armed forces.

 Key facts:

  • Space Force would become the youngest US military branch, and the first new service since the establishment of the US Air Force back in 1947.
  • The Space Force would be part of the Department of the Air Force.

Functions:

The main goal of the Space Force is to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain.

It will organize, train, and equip military space forces.

Challenges:

  • The fundamental difficulty of a space corps is that the physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris. And despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
  • The technical demands of defending assets in space make the possibility of dominance and space as a domain for war-fighting a sort of chimera.

Why space has become so important?

  • Space is a “war-fighting domain” and global powers like Russia and China are already treating it as such.
  • Besides, the stakes are high. Much of our 21st-century economy and lifestyle — from bank transactions to weather forecasting to television service to the GPS directions — depends on satellites functioning round the clock and without interruption. The military depends on them too.
  • In 2007, China shot down one of its own satellites — mission accomplished in its own right, it also littered orbit with potentially destructive space debris. Many saw the operation as a veiled display of military power.

Sources: the Hindu.