The rapid expansion of the modern space race has exacerbated tensions between the United States and China. After years of bickering, the American space program is taking steps to improve its defence in space against its rival.
American space force to militarise NASA
Speaking at the ISS R&D conference, Rep. Aderholt of Alabama explained his vision for the future of America in space. Transcribed by Astronautical, the speech revealed wishes to turn NASA into a military organisation.
At the conference, Aderholt explained that he wishes to have NASA better incorporated with military to defend against China. With the Chinese space industry rapidly evolving, he sees the country’s technological state as a threat.
“[We] must garner greater cohesion between NASA and the Department of Defense,” Aderholt said. “We must ensure that we can easily leverage NASA assets for space security, as well as DoD assets for NASA development.”
Aderholt explains that this method would also make the American Space Force more than just a military division. Instead, the Space Force could assist in “scientific research where needed”.
However, the militarisation of NASA comes amid a perceived threat from China. With the Chinese space industry’s rapid growth, the U.S. believes that the country will attack from above. In response, Aderholt is prepared to build huge space bases.
Protecting America’s space, uh, space
In the conference, it was said that America needs to put more effort into protecting the country in low-orbit. With China becoming more advanced, there are fears that the country could attack from above.
“The U.S. must also establish a strong, permanent American presence in space,” Aderholt said. “We must ensure security in space by aggressively countering adversarial ambitions. This includes addressing the dramatic progress of China’s space program, Chinese espionage, and also having a serious discussion about the future of U.S.-Russian relations in space.”
Alongside NASA helping in military procedures, Aderholt pitched a future where Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin are also pitching in to protect the country. Similar to DoD military contracts in tech services.
“[The Future] means recognizing the success of companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX who have invested their own resources in supporting NASA – not replacing NASA. In an era of increasing collaboration, we will only continue to see this type of growth in private industry initiative, and the expansion of NASA’s role as both a leader and trusted partner.”
America’s staunch militarisation is constantly expanding, and the present has already seen the incorporation of robots and the creation of the space force. A massive expansion into low-orbit is not out of the realm of possibility.