Last month the U.S. Air Force successfully orbited the first geosynchronous satellite in the nation’s future missile-warning system. This is a very big deal for two reasons. First, nuclear deterrence won’t work if you don’t know when you’re under attack. Second, the last time the U.S. successfully orbited a new missile-warning satellite was 2004, and like other spacecraft in the existing constellation, that satellite had a nominal design life of five years. Fortunately, the legacy satellites have been lasting much longer than expected. Still, it’s clear the missile warning network was living on borrowed time, so it’s real good news that a new, significantly more capable, bird has made it into orbit. I wrote an op-ed piece about the new satellite for last week’s Space News, which you can read here.
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