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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Aug 7, 2020

SpaceX and ULA win billions in Pentagon rocket contracts, beating out Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, military, space travel

The U.S. Air Force on Friday awarded rocket builders United Launch Alliance and SpaceX contracts worth billions to launch national security missions for five years starting in 2022.

The awards represent the second phase of the military’s National Security Space Launch program, which is organized by the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, California. Four companies — Elon Musk’s SpaceX, ULA, Northrop Grumman and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin — bid for the contracts, with the military set to spend about $1 billion per year on launches.

The NSSL awards represent nearly three dozen launches, scheduled between 2022 and 2026. ULA won 60% of the launches, and SpaceX won the remaining 40%.

Continue reading “SpaceX and ULA win billions in Pentagon rocket contracts, beating out Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman” »

Aug 7, 2020

New Intelligence Shows China Is Building More Type-075 Assault Carriers

Posted by in category: military

The Chinese Navy is expanding at an incredible pace, rapidly outstripping almost all other navies. A year ago it had no amphibious assault carriers (termed landing helicopter docks). These large helicopter carriers are often the most powerful ships in many navies, and almost all navies want them. Fast forward a year’s time and they will likely have a fleet of them second in size only to the U.S. Navy. And China is building them quicker.

The rapid construction of Chinese Navy (PLAN) warships is hard to keep up with. China’s new Assault Carriers are known as the Type-075 LHD. They have already launched two in the past year. And now images have emerged on Chinese-language social media that, perhaps unwittingly, reveal yet another.

This equates to an assembly time in dry dock of about 6 months. It is difficult to make direct comparisons to the U.S. Navy because the construction approaches vary, and America is not in the same rush. But for context the U.S. Navy’s second America Class assault carrier, USS Tripoli, was laid down in June 2014 and launched in May 2017. 2 years and 10 months later.

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Aug 7, 2020

The Army’s next robot will know when you’re talking trash to it — and know when to talk back

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

The Army is developing a system to allow autonomous ground robots to communicate with soldiers through natural conversations — and, in time, learn to respond to soldier instructions no matter how informal or potentially crass they may be.

Researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, working in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, have developed a new capability that allows conversational dialogue between soldiers and autonomous systems.

Aug 6, 2020

The Army and Navy’s Hypersonic Missile is a Go

Posted by in categories: energy, military

Hypersonic weapons are the next frontier of great power competition between the United States, Russia, and China. The Army and Navy want to expedite the development of the missile and hope to field it in 2023.


Their latest missile test was a success.

By Caleb Larson

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Aug 5, 2020

Remembering Hiroshima And Nagasaki, 75 Years After

Posted by in category: military

Thoughts on the first atomic bombs used in anger, 75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Aug 5, 2020

Four companies will square off to win money to build Skyborg drone prototypes

Posted by in categories: drones, economics, military

Not all the companies that won Skyborg contracts are assured to score orders to build prototypes.

Aug 5, 2020

Watch SpaceX launch a South Korean satellite using the same booster that flew NASA astronauts

Posted by in categories: drones, military, satellites

SpaceX is launching South Korea’s first dedicated military communications satellite on Monday, with a target liftoff time of 5 PM EDT (2 PM PDT). The launch window spans nearly four hours, ending at 8:55 PM EDT (5:55 PM PDT), so SpaceX has considerable flexibility in terms of when the launch could actually take place.

The Falcon 9 rocket being used for this mission includes a first-stage booster that flew previously on SpaceX and NASA’s Demo-2 mission — the historic mission that carried astronauts on board a SpaceX rocket for the first time. That launch, which took place on May 30, saw astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley successfully delivered to the International Space Station — where they’re currently preparing to depart on Demo-2’s concluding trip home on August 1.

This mission will include a recovery attempt for the first stage, using SpaceX’s “Just Read the Instructions” drone landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Aug 5, 2020

U.S. Air Force cadets study idea of Space Force bases on the Moon

Posted by in categories: military, policy, space

In December 2019, Donald Trump signed the U.S. Space Force Act, peeling off an orbit-and-beyond branch of the military, much as the Air Force grew out of the Army in the 1940s.

For now, the Space Force still resides within the Air Force, but nearly 90 of this year’s approximately 1000 Air Force Academy graduates became the first officers commissioned straight into the new organization. Some of those graduates were members of an academy group called the Institute for Applied Space Policy and Strategy (IASPS). Featuring weekly speakers and formalized research projects the students hope to turn into peer-reviewed papers, the group aims to game out the policies and philosophies that could guide military space activity when they are old enough to be in charge. In particular, these young cadets are interested in whether the Space Force might someday have a military presence on the Moon, and how it might work with civilians.

That activity could put the Space Force in conflict with scientists, who typically view the cosmos as a peaceful place for inquiry. But part of the club’s mission is speculating about that interplay—between the military and civilian scientists, civil space agencies, and private companies. Cadet J. P. Byrne, who will graduate in 2021, is the group’s current president. He chatted with ScienceInsider about the institute’s work. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Aug 5, 2020

Pentagon wrestles with adopting zero-trust security approach

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military

Work from home caused by the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated conversations about zero-trust, several IT officials have said recently.

Aug 4, 2020

Researchers: help free the world of nuclear weapons

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, law, military, treaties

One idea, which has been in gestation for some years, could be about to have its break-out moment. A new agreement, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), is expected to become international law next year — and scientists have a chance to play a part in helping it to succeed.


Seventy-five years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a new treaty offers renewed hope for a nuclear-free world.

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