Space Education and Strategic Applications is a peer reviewed, international, multidisciplinary, open-access journal intended to serve and inform the space community of most recent advances in Space Education, Space Research, and Space Applications in this rapidly expanding field. The Journal is published bi-annually. As an academic journal, SESA encourages the publication of advances in space research, education and applications.
Current Issue: Volume 2, Number 2 – Spring/Summer 2021
An Interview with Dr. Lorenza Cooper
Kandis Wyatt Boyd, American Public University System
Dr. Lorenza Cooper is a life-long Atmospheric Scientist and serves as an Assistant Professor at American Public University System. Dr. Cooper serves as a lead instructor and course developer of all meteorology courses offered at the University. In this capacity, he plans and prepares curriculum that remains relevant in a rapidly advancing discipline. His focus is on his students, and he establishes learning outcomes to best position students in a competitive career environment. For students with an interest in learning more about the weather, Dr. Cooper initiates and facilitates discussions to promote critical thinking, as well as providing quality and timely feedback to assist students in successfully achieving course objectives. We are featuring Dr. Cooper in this edition of SESA to highlight the connections between the atmosphere and many aspects of physical science.
Commentary & Critical Analysis
Orbital Dynamics for National Security Lawyers
Space is harsh, and does not operate like terrestrial environments. For national security lawyers and those advising commanders in operational law choices, drawing direct comparisons to maritime, littoral, and air regimes is a flawed assumption. Space is not uniform. Space domains impose different constraints and support different operating options. The overall goal of this article is to demystify and help normalize outer space, so national security lawyers can add value to the overall mission. By introducing Juris Doctors to conceptual insights of space physics implications, they can better develop frameworks for understanding operational choices.
A Star Story of War: NATO’s Dangerous Plan for Space Domination
For the Indigenous peoples of the land that is now Canada, the heavens are where life originated. The Anishinaabeg believe that when humans die, they pass through the spirit world to the stars. At night, they see their ancestors dance across the sky. For the Indigenous people, there is a sacred, spiritual connection between the earth and the star world. In the constellations, the Anishinaabeg see loons, moose, bear, thunderbirds, and turtles. They have their own names for the constellations. The Big Dipper Stars are known as the Fisher Stars. The Pleiades star cluster is known as the Seven Daughters of the Moon and Sun. The light and patterns in the sky guide their hunting and ceremonies. The Indigenous people remind us that there is one sky, but many ways of seeing and understanding it. How do our Western governments and militaries view the sky? What is their star story? Outer space is seen as a new contested area of competition, conflict and power projection.
Crossing the Chasm…Space Edition
We face a “race” to the stars that requires a joint public-private sec-tor entity designed to fund and support space development and infrastructure, similar to the building of the Erie Canal, the Trans-continental Railroad, and supporting our air, sea, and road high-ways serving the public. But now, our focus is on space.
Balancing the needs of industry, taxpayers, workers, and our children requires the U.S. to deploy a full range of financial, policy, and/or educational tools. This is best accomplished through creating a single entity with the mandate, authority, and reach to effect change at the speed of innovation. The best way to achieve this is by forming a Space Public-private Advanced Commercialization Enterprise (SPACE) Corporation.
Emerging U.S. Government and Military Literature on U.S. Space Force
Established in 2018, the U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the U.S. military. The reality of space as an arena for international geopolitical and military competition has been around for decades in scholarly literature and publicly accessible government information resources. This work examines recently published U.S. Government and military literature on Space Force. These works examine various economic, military, and political aspects of this entity and how it may affect U.S. national security policy in years to come. Public opinion polls on space force are also included. An additional objective of this work is enabling readers to use their analysis of this lecture to explore potential business contracting opportunities, contacting their congressional representatives, and participating in the federal regulatory process to express their views on Space Force developments.
The APUS Supernova Search Program: A Scientific Leadership and Research Opportunity for Graduate and Undergraduate Students
Kristen A. Miller, Christopher Colvin, Melanie Crowson, Jason Cushard, Terry Trevino
Providing hands-on learning experiences for students in space-related education programs is a challenge and particularly so for pro-grams that are offered 100% online. The American Public University System (APUS) offers Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs in Space Studies that are delivered completely online. To date, 559 graduate students and 405 undergraduate students from around the globe have completed degrees since the inception of our program. The unique aspect of our program is its emphasis on the use of astronomical observations to provide opportunities for students to participate in authentic research opportunities and to develop instrumentation for their research. APUS operates a 24-inch Planewave robotic telescope fitted with an SBIG STX-16803 charge-couple device camera, located in Charles Town, West Virginia. This instrument is an integral component of the undergraduate and graduate education in space studies that we provide. Currently, we use this instrument in a supernova search program where students process images of several dozen galaxies obtained from a periodic survey of the sky and then compare the observations to reference images using blink-comparison soft-ware. This program is an excellent research opportunity for both graduate and undergraduate space studies students. Students in the leadership group research, design, and test components of the supernova search program; under faculty direction, they engage in evaluating software and supervise small groups of students who analyze and study the images as they search for possible supernova events. This opportunity supports their classroom learning and provides a means for all students in the program to participate in meaningful scientific research. Currently, 177 galaxies in six different regions of the sky are regularly observed in this program.
Could Redefining US Space Power Mitigate the Risk of Space Logistics Degradation by the Threat of Space Weaponization?
This research article aims to assess U.S. space logistics and the threat of space weapons through the lens of proposed theories and concepts of space power. This analysis will begin with a brief introduction to space logistics, followed by the threat of space weapons, ad-dress concepts of space power, and end with recommendations and a new theory of space power. To this day, more states are gaining access to the space domain and challenging U.S. space dominance. As Smith suggests, the U.S. has been more focused on tracking objects in orbit instead of protecting space assets and deterring adversaries (M. V. Smith 2002). While the space treaties of the 1960s and 1970s attempted to establish the peaceful use of the space domain, preventing outer space’s weaponization, its effectiveness has slowly declined over the decades with changes to global, national security objectives and technology advancements.
Advanced societies rely on the critical space infrastructure (CSI) for daily life to include supporting economies and government systems. From the day CSI’s were established in the space domain, their technology has vastly improved to provide better services. Even though the expansion and reliance have enhanced techno-logical capabilities with communications, remote sensing, global positioning/navigation, broadband, and entertainment, it has also exposed vulnerabilities. In 2016 the U.S. had 576 satellites in orbit while China had 181, and Russia had 140 (Johnson-Freese, 2016). A space-faring nation with significantly more satellites in orbit than other states could be viewed as threatening space dominance. As Georgescu et al. explain, “this dependency breeds vulnerability, both to natural and man-made risks arising from the specific environment in which space systems operate, as well as to deliberate attacks seeking to destabilize societies” (Georgescu et al. 2019).
Review of Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt
The 2016 movie Hidden Figures defied box office estimates and made over $200 million both abroad and in the United States. While Hollywood would argue that where multi-million-dollar action films filled with violence, profanity, and strife raked in the most profit, this movie proved that audiences revealed at a refreshing film about the academic mathematical and scientific achievements of black women. The movie is loosely based on the book of the same name, which highlighted the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the space program. The main character, Katherine Johnson, was urged to publish her autobiography after the movie was published, and this book review highlights her autobiography: Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson.
Volume 2, Number 1 – Fall/Winter 2020
SESA Keynote Speaker and 25th Secretary of the United States Air Force, Barbara Barrett
Commentary & Critical Analysis
Elon Musk (Space X) Has Gone Nuts
Elon Musk, and his company SpaceX, has a plan to take control of Mars. They want to “terraform” the dusty red planet to make it green and livable like our Mother Earth.
The topography of Mars is described as:
“A hypothetical program that will consist of a planetary engineering project or a concurrent project, with the purpose of transforming the planet from hostile life to life on earth so that it can sustainably accommodate humans and other unprotected or mediated life forms. Presumably, the process will involve restoring the existing climate, atmosphere and surface of the earth through various re-source-intensive programs and the installation of one or more new ecosystems.” (Wikipedia, 2021).
It is estimated that more than 10,000 nuclear bombs will be required to implement Musk’s plan. A nuclear bomb will also make Mars radioactive. The nuclear bomb that Musk wants to build will be transported to Mars by the 1,000-spacecraft fleet Musk wants to build, similar to the nuclear bomb that exploded on December 9, 2020. Such radioactivity will undoubtedly incur long-term damage to Earth.
APUS: Nurturing Our Leaders and Future Leaders
Carl W. Starr
It is often a disaster or crisis that highlights our leaders and their leadership capabilities. Certainly, the current pandemic has caused us to scrutinize the abilities of our national and local leaders. How well or how bad a leader responded to the pandemic has become a benchmark for leadership evaluation. How are leaders created? Are they born to it? Sure, some required leadership skills are born from characteristic traits found in many people. These leadership characteristics include patience, caring, empathy, decisiveness, and efficient planning. What then, if they are born to it, but are never presented with an opportunity to actually lead? The answer is they remain in a state of potential.
Nukes in Space
The use of nuclear in space is being pushed harder than ever. In July, an Associated Press dispatch declared the headline “US Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants for Moon and Mars”. Also in July, The White House National Space Council issued a strategy for space exploration that includes “nuclear propulsion methods.” Additionally, “Space Policy Directive-6” was released by The White House last month titled “Strategy for Space Nuclear Power,” elaborating on the U.S. desire for nuclear power and nuclear propulsion in space. And finally, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, has been touting the detonation of nuclear bombs on Mars to transform it into an “Earth-like planet.” The rapid trajectory with which this growing support for nuclear in space, however, is quite concerning—especially given the potential of explosion whilst aboard a spacecraft, and even worse, the after effects on humans and the environment here on earth may experience. This article promotes the use of solar energy as an alternative.
Exploring Space in the Spirit of Kinship
Clearly, it has proven difficult for the international community to agree on space governance matters. However, the nations of the world have proved unanimous support of the protection of human heritage. There is no heritage more universal than lunar landing sites on the Moon, which represent both a milestone in human evolution and development, as well as the culmination of the work of humans throughout the world and throughout history. The human relationship to space is necessarily global and universal. “The famous Earthrise image, taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968 during the Apollo 8 mission, was perhaps the most influential environmental photo ever and has taught us humility as we understand our very precious space in our solar system.” Few would argue that the site where humans first set foot on another celestial body should be recognized and protected less than any site on Earth. However, presently, the extraction and sale of space resources by private companies for their own profit. Since 2015, the United States has been instigating—on a bipartisan basis—an effort to address a lacuna in international space law and assure that commercial space mining companies may retain such property rights in the minerals and elements they extract from the Moon and other celestial bodies, as to be able to sell the resources to others for their own profit. With this in mind, this article implores the international community, through COPUOS, to initiate important processes to include reaching agreements on how to protect humanity’s greatest treasure in space.
Evaluating Space as the Next Critical Infrastructure Sector
When one considers critical infrastructure protection, the default discussion too often becomes discussing cyber vulnerabilities as the only way to defend the homeland without considering whether all correct critical infrastructure (CI) was identified. When created, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) protected those critical U.S. infrastructure categories identified by the executive branch with all military space infrastructure becoming part of the cate-gory called Defense Industrial Base. Other potential space sectors including television, satellite manufacturing, commercial launch, and global positioning disappeared into other CI categories such as critical manufacturing, communications, or information technologies. Just as military space required a separate armed service in the Space Force, the time appears right to implement a space CI sector including from commercial satellite manufacturing through launch and ground control to on-orbit missions as critical to U.S. public health, public safety, economic benefit, and national security. Starting with historical approaches to selecting and protecting CI, this paper expands to what sectors are currently protected, which space infrastructure matters most, and provides a qualitative CI sector comparison based on a hypothesis-based design.
A Planetary Perspective of Earth Systems Sustainability: Reframing Climate Change Implications from Agricultural Adaptations in Maya Milpa Farming Communities in Belize
In a case review of climate-smart agriculture practices in Mayan milpa farming communities in Belize (Central America), this paper reframes how small-scale agriculture practices can influence larger Earth systems sustainability. In what has been a sustainable form of farming for hundreds of years, the milpa has become less sustainable due to global climate change, forest loss, soil degradation, population growth, and other factors. This article reviews the findings of a 2020 study of positive socio-ecological systems (SES) influences—environmental, economic, socio-cultural, and technological—from climate-smart practices on local resource sustainability. SES considers several multidisciplinary linkages of human and ecological factors in the agroecological system. SES considers several multidisciplinary linkages of human and ecological factors in the agroecological system. SES influences from small-scale cli-mate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices can have both micro-scale impacts as well as macro-scale implications for SES sustainability and food security. Understanding the implications of small-scale farming on larger Earth systems can inform global climate change mitigations and government policy and action needed to promote CSA practices. This is important for the resilience of vulnerable populations such as Belizean milpa farming communities and others who rely directly on resource sustainability for their food and livelihood security.
National Space Policy: International Comparison of Policy and the ‘Gray’ Area
The ‘Space Race’ started as a competition between two nations, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 sparked swift expansion of new U.S. federal guidelines and systems (Stine, 2011). The rise of space-faring nations has triggered the expansion of national-level policy development and international cooperation. Policy development further expanded global markets and protected respective national security interests. Inter-national cooperation has allowed like-minded nations to discuss intentions and capability in the space domain. This research describes, analyzes, and reviews contrasting space policies and their application to the space domain. Furthermore, this research presents an international comparative analysis regarding the impact of Gray Zone activity to space policies, or lack thereof, in regards to U.S., China, and India.
Volume 1, Number 1 – Spring/Summer 2020
doi: 10.18278/sesa 1.1.1
Special Inaugural Issue Featured Article
Introduction To Our Featured Article
A Transformative Paradigm of Cosmic Life
When it is finally accepted that life is a truly cosmic phenomenon and that we are part of a vast cosmic biosphere, the implications for humanity will be profound. Even more important would be the acceptance that alien life in the form of microbes—bacteria and viruses—exist in our midst even now and continually rain down on our planet. Such microbes could be responsible for devastating pandemics, but more positively we should recognise cosmic viruses and bacteria could have the potential to augment our genomes—the genomes of all terrestrial lifeforms—and over long periods of time unravel an ever-changing panorama of life. The emerging facts pointing to the cosmic nature of life, when they are fully acknowledged, will mark an important turning point in human history.
Q & A with Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Melissa Layne and Chandra Wickramasinghe
A Moment in Time
Images Capturing the Historic SpaceX Demo-2 Launch
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This English adage could not ring more true than during the recent SpaceX NASA Demo-2 launch on May 30th, 2020. How so? This launch was markedly different from other historic launches—in many aspects. One stark difference, is that the American public was strongly discouraged to physically attend the event due to potential spread of COVID-19. The COVID-free environment of yesteryear allowed Americans to physically gather and share the excitement, pride, and enthusiasm of such a momentous event.
American Public University System Observatory
The American Public University System observatory is located on the main center campus in Charles Town, West Virginia, standing atop the tallest building on the site with a bright, silver 22 and a half feet wide dome. Within its protective cavern the CDK 24 inch diameter telescope is housed, mounted on a PlaneWave, A200 equatorial pier that stands at an overall height of 10 feet. There are not one but two telescopes attached to the central pier, with a 5 inch diameter Tele Vue refractor fastened on top of the 24 inch using additional brackets. Both telescopes use an SBIG type of CCD camera, the CDK uses a model ST 16803 and the Tele Vue uses an ST 8300, each with full set filter wheels for different research and photographic needs. The power of this set up lies in its equipment as much as its remote operations capabilities, wherein faculty, professors and even students may access and control the telescopes from vastly different and far away locations in pursuit of any astronomical objects.
Bringing Space to the Classroom Through STEM Education Providing Extreme Low Earth Orbit Missions Using ThinSats
Brenda Dingwall, Joyce Winterton, Dale Nash, Sean Mulligan, Brian Crane, Robert Twiggs, Matt Craft, Hank Voss, and Matt Orvis
The future of Space Science depends on our ability to attract and engage students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Authentic, hands-on experience with space applications enhances engagement and learning in the STEM disciplines and can help to attract disinterested students to STEM careers. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), Twiggs Space Lab, LLC (TSL), Orbital ATK, NearSpace Launch, Inc. (NSL), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility have collaboratively developed the ThinSat Program, providing student teams with the opportunity to design, develop, test, and monitor their own experimental payload that will be integrated into a pico-satellite and launched from the second stage of Orbital ATK’s Antares Rocket.
Modeling and Simulation of a Long-Wave Infrared Polarimetric Sensor for Space Object Detection and Characterization
Kevin Pohl, Jonathan Black, Jonathan Pitt, and Edward Colbert
Long-wave infrared (LWIR, wavelength > 8 um) polarimetric measurements can be used to characterize space objects under certain conditions. Both visible and LWIR polarimetry have been demonstrated extensively in terrestrial applications for characterization and detection of objects of interest. Visible polarimetry has also been demonstrated for space object detection. A simulation of a camera and telescope for collection of LWIR polarimetric signatures of space objects has been assembled using three software packages: Systems Tool Kit (STK), MATLAB, and FRED. Characterization of space objects is generally possible across a wide range of target surface temperatures and emissivities, and at a sub-pixel level; characterization is reliable in a narrower range. This approach represents an initial step forward in optical systems for space situational awareness (SSA) in that it offers a wider field of view than equivalently sized visible light collectors, and it can be used both day and night, regardless of target illumination.
Tailored Systems Engineering Processes For Low-Cost High-Risk Missions
Jared Clements, Tyler Murphy, Lee Jasper, and Charlene Jacka
Given the low cost of most CubeSat missions, a full implementation of the traditional space systems engineering process to CubeSat missions can be detrimental to the programmatic success of the CubeSat. At the other extreme, CubeSat missions often suffer predictable consequences from the omission of standard systems engineering processes, such as risk management, configuration management, and quality assurance. In this paper, we discuss a scaled systems engineering approach to CubeSat missions implemented on a programmatically constrained mission. We also discuss each of the standard systems engineering processes and options for tailoring the processes for a constraint-based mission and how this varies from typical top-down mission processes. The intent is to inform the decisions of mission developers in determining what level of rigor is appropriate for each process in their unique circumstances and mission needs. Examples of tailoring processes utilized with missions currently underway at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Small Satellite Branch (AFRL/RVEN) are used to illustrate the application of the information presented.
Will a Global Reliance on Space Technology Inevitably Lead the United States to Conflict?
This analysis aims to provide an assessment of the emerging global threat to the United States satellite infrastructure. Additionally, the analysis provides an understanding of how the greater reliance on satellite infrastructures around the world will increase the threat. While a satellite can be defined as any object orbiting a planet or a star, for this analysis, a satellite will be defined as a man-made machine sent into orbit for a specific purpose. This analysis will begin with a brief comparative analysis between the current dispute over the Spartly Islands in the South China Sea through the lens of the social dominance theory. The following sections will introduce the current threat to the US satellite infrastructure followed by the policy recommendations.
Disaggregating The United States Military: An Analysis of the Current Organizational and Management Structure of U.S. National Security Policy as it Relates to Military Operations In Space
Joseph Myles Zeman
This article was written to provide the reader with a comprehensive assessment of the realities of the current organizational and management structure of US national security policy as it relates to the conduct of military operations in space. To create an encompassing argument, this article considers the current organizational structure of US space policy while acknowledging that space has, in fact, become a warfighting domain. A reorganization of this magnitude has the potential to generate a succinct chain of command for military space operations while condensing the space acquisitions process and ultimately providing military space operations with the attention and resources needed to keep America and its allies safe. However, this article examines whether reconfiguring the current organizational and management structure of US national security space components does, in fact, have the power to accomplish such objectives. This article relies heavily upon the testimonies and documentation derived from both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Congress. In addition, it is acknowledged that US policymakers have turned this into a largely bureaucratic and inherently politicized issue. This article ultimately concludes that some degree of reconfiguration to the current organizational and management structure of US policy as it relates to military operations in space has the potential to positively affect the national security space establishment.
Why Students and Recent Grads Should Seek an Internship with SpaceX Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and What to Expect
COVID-19 has left global economies struggling as they continue to enact strict measures to slow the pandemic from spreading. Despite many industries making an abrupt but successful transition from face-to-face to virtual, home-based work environments, many others have not been as fortunate and are barely keeping their businesses afloat. There is one industry, however, that is doing an exceptional job of weathering the economic turmoil— the space industry.
A Review of Understanding Space Strategy: The Art of War in Space by John J. Klein
Mark Peters II
The US Space Force, founded December 20, 2019, recognizes high frontier conflict and poses sufficiently different challenges from land, air, or naval war to require space domain specialists. Winning conflict requires developing effective strategies early and a change from terrestrial to celestial will require extremely specialized strategies. Strategy development traditionally begins with historical founders like Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Mahan. Those three, among others, are extensively referenced by John J. Klein throughout his book, Understanding Space Strategy: The Art of War in Space. Beginning with strategy basics and unique space elements before presenting four case studies, Klein firmly ties historical approaches to modern conflict. Those with limited strategic backgrounds will find this book immensely helpful. Understanding Space Strategy contributes an effective primer, perhaps suitable for newly minted Space Force personnel to link celestial domain possibilities to terrestrial concerns.
A Review of Apollo Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings
Roger D. Launius
On December 19, 1972 in the South Pacific, I watched from the deck of USS CVS 14, Ticonderoga1 three large red, white, and blue parachutes deploy and slowly bring down the Apollo 17 command module to a perfect splashdown off the bow of the aircraft carrier. The NASA team and sailors were exuberant and proud of the country’s achievements and were looking for a brighter future for space exploration. Little did we suspect that this was the last lunar crewed mission and that the next forty-eight years would be destined for low Earth orbital missions. The United States (US) was embroiled in a protracted and costly “police action” in Southeast Asia, significant social events were challenging established governance, and the novelty of the Apollo program was relegated to history. Further resources for the Lunar and Mars crewed missions were redirected instead to the US first Orbital Space Station, the US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project détente mission, and the follow- up Space Shuttle. The first decade of post-World War II East-West competition for world supremacy created serious concern and a sense of insecurity for US defense and technological supremacy.
A Review of Essentials of Public Health Biology: Biologic Mechanisms of Disease and Global Perspectives
Loretta DiPietro, Julie Deloia, and Victor Barbiero
Advances in human genome and availability of large-scale population health databases promise a more rational approach to workers’ health, disease prevention, and treatment, based on individual biological variability. The environment has become a significant health factor in triggering a genomic response and occasionally inducing pathological changes.