December 01, 2003


So I've been meaning to write some posts about space for a while, and this article in The Register is a good enough place to start:

Galileo, the prestigious European satellite navigation system, is under threat by the US military, which wants to degrade its accuracy, according to the German TV news programme Tagesschau.
This is obviously irritating a lot of people, who see it as a unilateral move to protect our hegemony.

The US has long been bothered by the thought of a GPS replacement that can't be turned off at a moment's notice. The recent British agreement to cooperate on a common European defense and the potential marginalization of NATO doesn't make anyone in Washington like the idea of a competing system any more.

Of course, if the Galileo system ever was used against the US military, by a rogue nation for instance, it is likely that we would degrade the accuracy through other means — so we are probably pitching US control as an alternative to "more costly" options.

Regardless, this just highlights a fact that I've talked about before: space is the next battleground. The recent conflicts have shown how crucial dominance of low earth orbit is to our military — from reconnaissance, to communications, to navigation, to precision guidance. With the ABM treaty dismantled and China making bold moves, I fear its not too long before the hopes for a peaceful final frontier are shattered.

Posted by richard at December 1, 2003 06:50 PM