Washington: In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the United States has initiated expeditious moves in space so that countries such as China and Russia do not surpass it. Last Friday, after the US President, unveiled the flag for the US Space Force, the series of events that followed appear to corroborate the fact. These include the flight of space plane X-37B, a contract for early warning systems and a proposal for setting up a network on 150 satellites.
In the past few years, both, China and Russia, have made aggressive advancements for dominance in space. Only a few days ago, China had released its Long March 5B rocket for its space station. Before that, China had developed anti-satellite missiles. The country has expedited the space missions for sending astronauts to the Moon and Mars while also taking steps for setting up a space station.
Russia is evidently supporting Chinese space activities. Russian companies and experts are a part of the many ongoing Chinese missions. Furthermore, the space agreements between the two nations corroborate this fact. Under such circumstances, the US activities gain much significance.
On Monday, the US Department of Defense announced awarding a $2.37 billion deal to Northrop Grumman for developing the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). Funds worth $7 billion were made available on an immediate basis for the task. Instructions were also issued to hand the missiles to the Space Force in the next five years, sources said. Besides, the new satellites are to replace the currently functional Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
In addition, the US has even begun preparations to set up a network of 150 satellites to track the hypersonic weapons that operate within the earth’s atmosphere. The US Space development agency has released a draft proposal on the subject, informed a US website. The network is proposed to be made operational by the year 2024. The US network being developed draws significant attention given China and Russia’s expeditious efforts to develop hypersonic missiles.
In the last two years, the US President, Donald Trump, has taken the lead for growing preparedness in the space domain. Moreover, the decisions such as establishing the Space Force as the sixth Armed Service of the US and the provision for more than $70 billion, only underscore the fact.