Are You Ready for Space Wars?

By: Adam Gorski
This scene from “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” was first shown to audiences in 1977, and almost 40 years later many elements of this minute of film highlight some of the real challenges facing nations operating in space today.

As described in “The Battle Above” from CBS 60 Minutes, the US, China, Russia and other nations are operating satellites critical to everyday life in a congested and contested environment where the possibility of a conflict extending into space has become a very real possibility.
As providers of software and solutions to the aerospace, defense, and intelligence communities, AGI prides itself on staying ahead of these trends. That’s why I thought I’d take a minute to dissect some of the nuances of these epic 60 seconds of film and what they mean to us.
“There’s another ship coming in!” – is indicative of one of the most important aspects of safe operations today. “Space Situational Awareness” or SSA is the use of sensors and processing software to track and identify objects in space. The alarm on the Millennium Falcon indicates the ship must have had some sort of sensor to detect the arrival of the enemy ship. AGI operates our own network of sensors that feed data to the Commercial Space Operations Center (ComSpOC) where we track thousands of objects in orbit around the Earth.
“It’s an imperial fighter” – indicates the system was somehow able to identify and characterize the threat. Core to the ComSpOC operations is AGI’s SSA Software Suite which enables automatic detection of maneuvers and over time characterizes patterns of life for the satellites we track. Our ability to identify threats to our customers’ satellites is a key value we bring to the market.
“Chewie, Jam it’s transmissions.” – indicates the 5th dimension of modern warfare: electronic and cyber warfare (3 dimensions, plus time being the other 4). AGI’s core modeling and simulation of electromagnetic systems provides our customers the ability to model threats, evaluate the risk and plan courses of action for mitigating those threats. Our ComSpOC HiDeph ephemeris has also proven to be very beneficial in the mitigation of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) by reducing the time to geolocate the source of jamming signals.
“It’s a short range fighter… where did it come from?” – indicates the need for foundational intelligence and capabilities modeling. The ComSpOC continues to develop a database of satellite capabilities, and our modeling and simulation software allows customers to understand the threat posed by rendezvous or collision maneuvers, proximity operations or other threatening actions as well as evaluate courses of action (COAs) to mitigate the threat.
“That’s no moon, it’s a space station.” – this is just an epic line, however, it also highlights the importance of understanding everything that is in space. Recently, ComSpOC has detected foreign satellites conducting suspicious maneuvers that could pose a threat to satellites critical to our daily lives. Hopefully, things will never escalate to a war in space. But for those who need to protect space assets, AGI has a suite of solutions ready to prepare you for anything the future may hold.  

Posted: 5/2/2016 7:30:54 AM