In the 50-odd years since Sputnik, the world has come to rely heavily on space. Roughly 1,200 satellites in orbit link global telecommunications networks, provide real-time positioning to our phones, and monitor the Earth for climate events and natural disasters. Space assets are also a critical enabler for the U.S. ...

Space can seem far away, but over the past 50 years it has become an integral part of modern life. Roughly 1,200 satellites in orbit link global telecommunications networks, provide real-time positioning to our phones, and monitor the Earth for climate events and natural disasters. Space assets are also a ...

Relations between the United States and North Korea hit a new low following Pyongyang’s test of an ICBM July 4. With a range of up to 5,000 miles – capable of reaching Alaska – the Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s longest-range missile to date, and its successful test is a direct ...

In May, the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense system - the GMD - successfully intercepted a mock ICBM in a critical test of the U.S. missile defense umbrella. Given the growing threat of the development of a North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the United States, this is excellent news. However, ...

The Pentagon’s missile defense review is now underway, incorporating mandates from both the White House and Congress. One of its considerations, at presidential direction, is whether there should be a relative “rebalancing” between homeland and regional missile defense. Regional defense has received a relatively greater share of the Missile Defense ...

An effective space-based sensor network is a critical component of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. The better the data the missile defense system has, the more likely it is to successfully intercept incoming missiles. Data is the backbone of the ballistic missile defense architecture, and that is why investments ...

When SpaceX successfully launched the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-76 into orbit last month from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and recovered the rocket's first stage, it marked the commercial space launch company’s first successful delivery in a series of top secret satellite launch contracts for the U.S. Air Force. ...

SpaceX launched the classified National Reconnaissance Office NROL-76 satellite into orbit before successfully landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center May 1. This not only marks SpaceX’s first major national security launch after brokering a deal with the U.S. Air Force to receive ...

When an industry experiences significant performance improvements and simultaneous cost reductions, disruptive innovation follows. The results ripple across sectors and drive the global economy forward. Steam power, automobiles, and personal computers are classic cases. Today, we are witnessing Moore’s Law – a term referring to the observation that the number ...

There has been a revolution in the cost of space launch for civilian purposes and defense during the last decade. New and innovative companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have rapidly reduced the cost of space launch through technological innovations such as the reusable rocket and by introducing new ...

You may not realize it, but every day you interact with geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).  Whether it’s the think tank that’s monitoring the Syrian refugee migrations, the academic institutions that are tracking Arctic ice extents, or the small satellite revolution, today’s innovative technology and crowded skies present a unique moment for ...

NASA has never hesitated in the face of the unknown. The space agency landed men on the moon in less than a decade. It has sent spacecraft beyond the edge of our solar system and peered into the depths of the cosmos with the Hubble Space Telescope. But now, NASA ...

Space sparks a wide range of emotions. Since the 1960s, advocates have invoked the ideals of pure science, exploration, and fundamental human curiosity to push for an expansive – and expensive – vision of U.S. space policy. As both the grand embodiment of human achievement and a prime arena for ...

President Donald Trump made clear in his inaugural address that his administration was going to pursue an active space program. He said that we are a nation “ready to unlock the mysteries of space.” For more than a decade, much of America’s space program has stagnated. Human spaceflight has been ...

In the past, space was dominated by the Soviet Union and the United States. Today, however, space has become a vital part of all our lives, economies, and national defense systems. Satellites now crowd our orbit with vital communications, global positioning (GPS) networks, and imaging platforms. At the same time, ...

Space may be infinite, but it’s starting to get crowded around Earth. As more nations have gained the ability to send assets into orbit, a new space race has started to emerge. But rather than focus on merely reaching space, the goal now is to leverage dominance in space into ...

One sign of how important space is to military operations, particularly U.S. military operations, is that the countries who are our most likely military opponents, particularly China and Russia, are investing tens of millions of dollars in a range of technologies intended to degrade or destroy satellites and space capabilities.  ...

The United States has enjoyed unchallenged dominance in the space domain for years, but it appears that time has come to an end. China has been increasing its space activities, which will have strategic consequences for the U.S. The Cipher Brief spoke with Bruce MacDonald, a former White House National Security ...

There may be water on Mars, but there’s definitely liquor in orbit. Over the last couple of years, there have been a number of people and businesses working hard to blend the grandeur of space with the simple joy of a well-made drink. There are basically three groups pursuing this ...