Fortified Rockets? Ask the Pentagon

Image (Credit): China’s KZ-11 transport launch system, which may be a model for an anti-satellite system. (

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal published an article, “Space Launches Should Withstand Chinese Challenge, Pentagon Mandate Says,” regarding new rocket requirements being developed by the US Department of Defense (DOD). It appears the Pentagon is worried about both the Russians and Chinese interfering with the launches of spy satellites. It doesn’t help to have an ongoing war in Ukraine where the Russians have already threatened US satellites. As a result, commercial rocket companies will need to meet some new specs on future missions.

DOD has already started the move to smaller satellites with dispersed missions to eliminate big space targets, which also allows for smaller companies to get into the game. More satellites launched from more locations (if not mobile locations) can assist the military with its missions whether it is facing errors or attacks. Even with some recent rocket mishaps, the story on the ground is positive as more companies join the industry while satellites get smaller and smaller.

This is not the space race the astronomy community wants to have, but the militarization of space is nothing new and is the primary reason we even started the space program. If the Blue Marble is not enough for us to understand the cost of war on the ground and in space, I am not sure what will work.