Saturday, December 15, 2012

Speed of rotation of the Earth (our Natural Spacecraft)

Approximate values just to show comparison:

Average walking speed --- 3 mph

Average running speed --- 10 mph

Typical speed of car in highway --- 70 mph

Top speed of cheetah, the fastest land animal on Earth --- 70 mph

Wind speed of a strong tornado --- 300 mph

Speed of commercial airplane --- 500 mph

Speed of sound in air --- 750 mph

Speed of earth's rotation in its axis --- 1000 mph

Escape velocity from the Earth --- 25,000 mph

Escape velocity from Earth of a NASA spacecraft  --- 36,000 mph

Speed of earth's revolution around the sun --- 67,000 mph

Speed of light --- 670,000,000 mph

So, just by sitting on your couch watching TV, smiling, laughing......perhaps most of us, without even realizing, we are RIDING IN A "SPACECRAFT" (which is the Earth, a natural "spacecraft"), spinning twice faster than the speed of a commercial airplane, rotating around its axis at speeds greater than the speed of sound, and revolving around the sun at speeds about twice the escape velocity of a NASA spacecraft.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Prediction on Canada’s role in Space Power and Space Operations in 21st century conflicts - an essay

     This essay is about Canada’s role in space power and space operations (a predictive approach). Given the current fast-paced advancements in technology, the future of war will be towards space-based weapons and they will play a decisive role in 21st century conflicts.         
          The aim of this essay is to explain why space-based weapons play a decisive role in 21st century conflicts. Another aim is to discuss what should be Canada’s role in space power and space operations in the future of warfare. These aims will be accomplished through the major headings in the Discussion.



Higher Ground Advantage

     Nobody wants to lose in war. No state wants to be defeated by another state. To win in war, a state must have successful doctrine and organization that is able to harness the power of technology. Military commanders in ancient battles and wars seized the high ground, in most cases, the top of the hill, and used it to their own advantage. In World War II, the air was the “high ground”. Superiority in the air was a big contributor to gain air power. The first principle that should guide air and space professionals is the imperative to control the high ground. This has been a rule of warfare ever since the dawn of time. The Cold War made the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, compete in technological advances in various areas such as electronics, robotics, communications, computer, navigation, nuclear weaponry, and space systems like the satellite. Both of these superpowers had excessive military expenditures to accelerate their development in technology in order to gain an edge over each other. The United States’ Department of Defense, for example, had an average of 220 percent increase in its space science project expenditures from the years 1958 to 1996.
     In 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to be put up in space. Shortly, the United States responded with their first satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. The Space Race began and amazingly, both of these superpowers conquered a new frontier, space, a new high ground. First, space is but the latest variant of the high ground that doctrine often advises military commanders to seize and hold. In 1961, the Soviet Union successfully put Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Eight years later, in 1969, the United States put the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, the commander of Apollo 11. The first space station, Salyut 1, was launched by the USSR on 1971. Two years later, Skylab, the first US space station was launched on 1973. Further developments in space technology would follow after these first steps. The Cold War and the superpower competition led to the fast-paced space exploration technology.
     One important space asset is the Global Positioning System (GPS) which consists of 27 satellites that orbit the Earth. Some military uses of GPS include imagery, navigation, target tracking, precision timing, signals intelligence, telecommunications, early warning, and meteorology. GPS provides tactical data and information that are crucial in winning battles and wars. It can be used to detect, locate, and identify targets, missiles, and signals. It is also used in precision weapon guidance, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), robotics, and drones. It enables effective communication and exchange of information that are necessary for good decision-making. It provides rapid patrol, surveillance, reconnaissance, weather, and terrain data. Effective use of space-based resources provides a continual and global presence over key areas of the world.
     A notable decisive role of space-based satellites was in the Persian Gulf War in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm. With the use of intelligence and spy satellites, the United States and the Coalition Forces were able to clearly view the desert battlefield, precisely locate Iraqi targets, and monitor their movement. GPS played a crucial role because it allowed a strategic deployment of troops, a key advantage of knowing exactly where the enemies were as well as the necessary information that allowed the commanders to tactically position friendly forces to eliminate the adversary with minimal losses and casualties. Military success of the Coalition were dependent on factors such as speed, precision, finding, hiding, and reorganizing which were made possible with the help of satellites in space.

Counter the threats from potential enemies

     During the Cold War, the US and USSR accumulated huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons and WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). In 1991, the US and USSR signed a treaty called START (STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty) to set a limit and reduce the deployment of nuclear warheads, ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers. Regardless of the treaty, however, these two countries did not stop creating new WMDs. The threat of long-range ICBMs was a big concern of the US. ICBMs have a range of more than 6,000 miles (10,000 km). This means that a missile from Russia is able to target the US. Also missiles from North Korea or China are able to cross a continent and detonate US cities. Because of such a threat, president Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983. This was also called “Star Wars” by the public and the media. The purpose of the SDI was to protect the US from ICMB attacks through the use of satellites in space that were able to detect the missiles upon liftoff and shoot it down using precise laser weapons.
     There are three types of space weapons that are considered to have great potentials for use in space: Chemical Lasers, Particle Beams, and Kinetic Energy Weapons. Three space-based architectures are evaluated against the ballistic missile threat: space-based lasers, ground-based lasers in conjunction with orbiting mirrors, and a combined approach using space-based lasers with orbiting mirrors. Laser weapons are quicker and more precise, but, applies a lesser force and less destructive. Kinetic-energy weapons, on the other hand, takes longer to deploy but delivers greater force and more destructive especially against fixed targets.
     In the short term, some key features and advantages of space weapons are: global superiority, significant combat power, tremendous range, ability to be first deployed, precise application of force on short notice, unreachable by most conventional Earth weapons, protection of space assets, global stabilizing effect on Earth, space support in Earth battlefields, missile defense, and serving as the basis of multi-lateral security co-operation. In the long term, key advantages are: serving as the basis of naval paradigm and large-scale exploitation of space.
     In the near future, militarization of space will soon be a reality. Nuclear weapons, space weapons, and space-based weapons will soon be orbiting the Earth. There will be arms race in space. Aiming for superiority in space, countries will soon put up their own weapons in space. Combat missions can be space control, offensive strikes, and missile defense. Superpowers like Russia, China, Germany or Japan will be able to put into space and deploy on the ground anti-satellite systems, laser weapons and space satellite information systems in order to attack our own space systems. The use of orbital space for military purposes lead to the pursuit of weaponization of space which can be in three forms: space-based missile-defense shield, space control, and force application from space. The weaponization of space has a real potential to the development of an empire based on space, an empire above the skies, a space empire able to rule with global scope, influence, and power.


Space power and Space operations

     Nowadays, we are heavily relying on the technologies provided by space systems. We see, use, and experience the benefits of space technology everyday. GPS from our cellular phones, GPS receivers in our cars, weather information, navigation, and 3-D position data used in airplane flights are few common examples of technologies made possible by satellites in space. In the military context, some common applications of satellites are threat warning and assessment  systems, global situational awareness, and systems for C4ISR (command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance). Because of these benefits that allow Canada to prosper, it is therefore the duty of our nation to protect and defend these space assets. 

     Canada’s space operations must be systematically structured. The Command and Control department makes and decisions, and implement them. The Spacelift department has the responsibility of delivering satellites, weapons, payloads, and materials in space. The Information department controls the information either to give access or deny access to information. The Intelligence department takes care of the collection, processing, and dissemination of intelligence data. The Surveillance department systematically observes the space, air, surface, and subsurface areas. This includes buildings, establishments, houses, regions, territories, terrains, places, persons, objects, and other mission-critical things. The Reconnaissance department obtains visuals of enemy activities and resources in order to provide a clear view and understanding of the battlefield. The Navigation and Timing department determines the precise location, position, and time of reference. These information are critical in the synchronization and coordination of actions in mission-specific operations. The Meteorological department provides weather and environmental forecasts to allow commanders to determine how the mission is going to be affected. The Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) department is responsible for search and rescue of personnel deployed in combat operations. The Strategic Attack department is in charge of strategic military action against terrestrial and space targets. The Special Forces department is deployed for missions requiring special skill, expertise, and talent in order to accomplish specific objectives. The Planning department is in charge of planning and coordination of space operations. The Training and Education department is responsible for systematic personnel training and education specific to their trade and line of work.

     Canada’s space operations should enhance national security and defence. Space systems provide global situational awareness which in turn enables leaders and decision-makers to have pertinent information to allow them to weigh the risks and make the right decisions involving national security. Space systems should have the capability to detect, track, engage, and destroy missiles, hostile targets, and threats. Satellites provide imagery, intelligence, information, and communications necessary to improve border security, port security, and monitoring of illegal activities.
     Canada's space systems should enhance our military force. These systems should improve our military combat effectiveness, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance of terrestrial and space environments, meteorological and weather sensing, ballistic missile warning and engagement, navigation and positioning systems, and communications systems. Canada’s space operations should support military operations. Space systems provide C4ISR, precise navigation and timing (PNT), space situational awareness (SSA), defense support program (DSP), friendly force tracking (FFT), precision engagement of time sensitive targets (TST), fast and secure communications. These capabilities help the military to conduct direct action, special operations, reconstruction, stabilization, and humanitarian activities. With the help of space systems, the effects-based operations (EBO), which are more focused on the desired outcome, can be efficiently carried out by joint task forces (JTF).

     Canada’s space operations must have the capability to seamlessly integrate and work in combined operations with coalition forces composed of global network of joint alliances. In order to be effective, troops and leaders must have common and interoperable standards in communications, information, and operations.

Space Control

     Space control is critical to success in 21st century warfare. Space Control consists of three key components: Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Offensive Counterspace (OCS), and Defensive Counterspace (DCS). SSA is an absolute necessity to OCS and DCS operations. SSA can be achieved by extensive information on space conditions and the use of space capabilities. A robust SSA system is needed to support decision makers, planners, and operators in both terrestrial (Earth) and Space operations. SSA involves operations such as intelligence data collection and processing, surveillance, reconnaissance, and monitoring of both Earth and Space environments. SSA is neccessary to understand the status of friendly and enemy forces. SSA will enable us to have advantage over our enemies.
         On a report by Fox News (March 2003), in the Second Gulf War during the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Saddam's forces used GPS Jammers against space systems. The military officials say they have destroyed 6 GPS jammers. Our adversaries used these GPS jammers in order to deny us of our space capabilities. Other threats from our enemies include ground system attack, sabotage, Radio Frequency (RF) jamming, anti-satellite laser systems, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, kinetic antisatellite (ASAT) weapons, space terrorism, space piracy, and information corruption operations.
      In order to maintain combat advantage against our enemies, we must ensure space superiority by having superior counterspace measures. Counterspace operations consist of two major key elements, defensive (DCS) and offensive (OCS). Both of these operations mainly depend on SSA. Counterspace operations ensure to protect our space capabilities while denying the enemy from using their space capabilities against us. Defensive counterspace (DCS) operations preserve and protect the ability of Canadian and friendly forces to use space capabilities. DCS operations prevent the enemy from attacking, jamming, or interfering our space systems. The scope of DCS include both space (such as satellites) and terrestial systems such as ground-based stations and communication links. DCS methods include attack detection, passive measures such as
seduction and deception, active measures such as suppression and dispersal, and recovery, restoration, redundancy, survivability operations.
     Offensive Counterspace (OCS) operations prevent an adversary from exploiting space to their advantage. Denying the enemy of their ability to use space capabilities will disrupt their ability to organize and coordinate attacks. This can be done in many ways, an example would be to strike their ground stations so that the communication link to the satellite is hindered. Other ways may include distortion, disruption, denial, degradation, and destruction of their space systems. OCS targets include enemy satellites, ground stations, communication links, launch facilities, C4ISR systems, and third party providers. Satellites can be targeted using laser and kinetic ASAT weapons. Ground stations including mobile stations, C4ISR systems, and launch facilities of adversaries can be targeted using conventional sea, air, or land-based weapons. Most communication link systems can be countered using the various techniques of disruption, distortion, denial and degradation. Third party or commercial systems used by our enemies can be dealt with diplomatically to deny them of their use of space capabilities. Other OCS resources that can be used against adversaries are aircraft, missiles, direct energy weapons (DEW), electronic warfare weapons, and the employment of Special Operations Forces (SOF). DEWs, such as lasers, may be land, sea, air, or space based. Depending on the power level used, DEWs are capable of a wide range of effects against on-orbit spacecraft, including: heating, blinding optics, degradation, and destruction. Under certain circumstances, lasers may also be effective against space launch vehicles while in-flight. Electronic warfare weapons are employed to deny the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. There are three basic types of electronic warfare: Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM), and Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures (ECCM). ESM employs passive systems to intercept and analyze emissions from radar, voice, and datalink communications. ECM uses active systems such as jamming techniques and decoys in order to disrupt the enemy's surveillance, guidance, and other electro- magnetic systems. ECCM involves anti-ECM techniques such as making your ECM equipment resistant against enemy ECM attacks or by employing countering methods  to cancel the effects of the enemy's jamming and decoy systems. SOF can conduct direct attacks to the enemy’s terrestrial space-related systems. They can also provide guidance to other support groups to carry out the tasks to achieve the effects desired.
     Space is the ultimate high ground. Superior space capabilities will result in superior global situation awareness. Having a robust offensive and defensive counterspace systems allow us to have space control that will preserve our space capabilities while denying our adversaries from using their space systems against us. Space-based weapons play a decisive role in 21st century conflicts, therefore, Canada’s space operations must endeavor toward achieving space superiority. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ASTRONOMY: Constellations and Mythology

Andromeda - Chained Lady

Aquila - Eagle

Bootes - Herdsman

Camelopardalis - Giraffe

Canes Venatici - Hunting dogs

Cassiopeia - Queen

Cygnus - Swan

Delphinius - Dolphin

Draco - Dragon

Hercules - Hero

Leo Minor - Small Lion

Lynx - Lynx

Orion - Hunter

Pegasus - Winged Horse

Perseus - Hero

Ursa Major - Great Bear (Big Dipper)

Ursa Minor - Small Bear (Little Dipper)


Monday, November 12, 2012

EARTH: useful facts, figures, and information


Word origin: eorthe (from Old English) meaning "ground, soil, dry land"

Other terms: Globe, World

Situated in: Milky Way galaxy

Position: 3rd planet from the Sun

Size: 5th largest planet in the Solar system

Shape: Oblate Spheroid

Age: 4.54 billion years (according to geologists and geophysicists)

Population: 6.8 billion (as of 2009)

Rotation: 86,400 seconds or 24 hours (relative to the Sun, mean solar day) (15 degrees/hr)

Orbit: 150 million km every 365.2564 mean solar days

Average orbital speed:     29.783 km/s (107,218 km/h)

Eccentricity: 0.016710219

Mean radius: 6371 km (3959 mi)

Mean diameter: 12,742 km (7919 mi)

Mean Circumference: 40041 km (24886 mi)

Surface area: 510,072,000 sq. km

148,940,000 km² land  (29.2 %)
361,132,000 km² water (70.8 %)

Volume: 1.0832073 e12 cu. km

Mass: 5.9736 e24 kg

Mean density: 5.5153 g/cc

Equatorial surface gravity: 9.780327 m/s² (0.99732 g)

Escape velocity: 11.186 km/s

Equatorial rotation velocity: 1,674.4 km/h (465.1 m/s)

Axial tilt: 23.439281 degrees

Surface temperature:
min     mean     max
184 K     287 K     331 K
-89 °C     14 °C     57.7 °C

Climate: tropical, subtropical, temperate, and polar

Seasons: summer, autumn, winter, spring

Surface pressure of atmosphere:    101.3 kPa (14.7 psi)

Composition of atmosphere:

78.08% Nitrogen (N2)
20.95% Oxygen (O2)
0.93% Argon
0.038% Carbon dioxide
About 1% water vapor

Earth-moon distance: 384,320 km (238,857 mi)

Earth-sun distance: 150 million km (93 million mi)