Using Sunlight to Save Satellites from a Fate of ‘Space Junk’

by Kayla Wiles
Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No satellite stays the same once launched into space. How much it changes can go unnoticed – until something bad happens.

Carolin Frueh is among only a handful of researchers who have persisted in using a complex technique that can diagnose a problem from thousands of miles away based on how the satellite reflects sunlight.

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A Summary of U.S. Counterspace Capabilities

Global Counterspace Capabilities:
An Open Source Assessment

Secure World Foundation
April 2020

Full Report

The following excerpt from the report summarizes U.S. counterspace capabilities.

The United States has conducted multiple tests of technologies for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) in both low Earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), along with tracking, targeting, and intercept technologies that could lead to a co-orbital anti-satellite (ASAT) capability.

These tests and demonstrations were conducted for other non-offensive missions, such as missile defense, on-orbit inspections, and satellite servicing, and the United States does not have an acknowledged program to develop co-orbital capabilities. However, the United States possesses the technological capability to develop a co-orbital capability in a short period of time if it chooses to.

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A Closer Look at National Space Council User’s Advisory Group Nominees


So, I finally had a chance to go through folks that Vice President Mike Pence nominated to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

Below is my attempt to break down the 29 nominees by category. It’s far from perfect because several of them could easily be listed under multiple categories. But, here’s my best shot at it.

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Obama Nominates Hyten to Lead U.S. Strategic Command

Gen. John E. Hyten
Gen. John E. Hyten

President Barack Obama has nominated U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten as the new commander of U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom).

Hyten had headed Air Force Space Command since 2014. President Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, who serves as the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations, to replace Hyten at that position in overseeing space operations.

“I want to congratulate Gen. John Hyten on his nomination by President Obama to be commander of U.S. Strategic Command,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a press release.

“I’ve known and worked closely with Gen. Hyten for several years, and over the course of his three-and-a-half decades in the Air Force, he has been a model for generations of men and women in uniform,” Carter said. “And he’s done so in a wide range of roles: from commanding airmen at the squadron, group, wing, and major command levels, to leveraging America’s space assets in support of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, to helping our military confront 21st-century threats in new domains like space and cyberspace.”

Hyten will replace Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney as Stratcom’s commander. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.

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