The Space Force’s relevance to the green agenda.
When most Americans believe Space Force, they probably imagine epic space battles or sprawling fantasy sagas. Policymakers who are more “in the know” likely believe the duties and functions which will preoccupy
the U.S. military’s newest branch within the years ahead.
But few, if any, pause to think about that the USSF has the potential
to play in another arena as well:
that of global climate change.
this is often because, while most don’t realize it,
The Space Force’s relevance to the green agenda is positioned to be among the foremost powerful organizations enabling and advancing a worldwide green agenda.
After all, it’s the USSF that operates the worldwide positioning system (GPS),
one of the world’s most powerful green technologies.
Since its advent within the 1970s, GPS-enabled navigation has facilitated global sea, land, and air transportation
That figure dwarfs the incremental gains now being sought by advocates of reduced carbon emissions
And makes the USSF the operator of the world’s most powerful green technology.
But the service is additionally doing more during this domain.
The USSF, as an example, is taking
the lead on what is going to become the last word green energy technology:
space-based solar energy.
Ignored for many years by both NASA and therefore the Department of Energy,
space-based solar energy is exclusive as a renewable energy source
because it’s much more efficient than its terrestrial counterpart and requires much less land. Moreover, its vast availability would allow a mature system to satisfy current global demand repeatedly over.
By delivering power on to where it’s needed,
space-based solar energy — once mature — would enable us to supply developing nations with a non-combustion energy source,
substantially reducing the impact of economic development on the environment. It could likewise enable rural electrification, obviating the necessity for carbon-intensive cooking practices like burning wood and trash.
And, since it eliminates
the necessity for miles of forest-disrupting roads and power lines,
it could even be wont to make water,
alleviating scarcity and suffering for millions.
Just as GPS began as military research but broadened to become a worldwide utility,
so too could current research at some point unlock a carbon-free energy source capable of meeting
one hundred pc of worldwide demand. And it’s the Space Force that’s pioneering its development.
Yet, there’s still more.
The USSF is additionally at the middle of climate intelligence,
helping us to understand both about our weather patterns on Earth,
and about the space weather — the activity of the Sun — which impacts our biosphere.
There wouldn’t even be a worldwide green movement had it not been for early military space research
to photograph our weather,
which gave us our first view of our planet within the 1960s.
Some six decades later, U.S. Space Force weather satellites still give us knowledge critical to understanding our climate and to managing our impact thereon.
The Space Force also plays a pivotal role in protecting the space environment itself. It provides traffic alerts to stop satellite collisions (and therefore space debris),
and it helps to develop norms of behavior that regulate the space information services which increasingly monitor our terrestrial environment.
Militaries are, of course, concerned about climate security and human security.
Yet their first focus — and therefore the one driving all of those innovations — is national security.
As is that the case with most tools and technology,
something built for one purpose finishes up being useful for other purposes. Military space technology has and can still advance the safety of Earth’s climate and biosphere. It also can help us to secure a far better, and greener, future.
Peter Garretson may be a senior fellow in Defense Studies with the American policy Council
a technology consultant who focuses on space and defense.
He was previously the director of Air University’s Space Horizons Task Force,
America’s think factory for space, and was deputy director of America’s premier space strategy program, the Schriever Scholars. All views are his own.