Why Question 42,000 SpaceX Satellites? Lots of Reasons! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Countdown to March 19/20th 2021 Global Protest – Part 4

By Patricia Burke

There are unresolved issues about blanketing low earth orbit (LEO) with satellites, in order to provide wireless telecommunications, surveillance, and military activities from space. As we count down to the March 19, 20th Global Protest actions[1], coinciding with the Equinox, we’re looking at some of the concerns voiced by experts, and an informed public.

In Part 1, we looked at the fact that “there are no trashcans in space.” 

Part 2 focused on further risks of ignoring the pollution of low earth orbit, and the unaddressed issue of bringing the human impact of littering and trash to space itself. [2]

Part 3 considers the impact of the commoditization of space on the “Global Electrical Circuit,”[3] and human health.

Part 4 questions the Weaponization of Space.

It’s not lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

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We’re talking “rendezvous” refueling satellites armed with weapons potential,”  ”bodyguard satellites armed with machine guns and lasers,” “electronic warfare,” “firing an intense microwave beam at a perceived satellite threat,” “the use of “radio jamming” to disrupt radar and communications,” ” kinetic kills,”  “lasers,” “missile tracking sensors,” “directed energy weapons,” “kidnapping satellites,” an 8% budget increase for Air Force “Situational Awareness,” and last but not least, the possible use of nuclear weapons.

The view from the Military/Industrial/Political/Educational/Engineering/Mass Media/Banking/ Space/Wireless/5G/Surveillance/AI/VR/Telecommunications Complex Lens:

SPACE NEWS: DoD (Dept of Defense) space agency launching experiments in preparation for 2022 satellite deployments WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s space agency this year will launch a series of experiments — including satellites with laser links and missile-tracking sensors — as is prepares to begin deploying a network of satellites in low-Earth orbit in 2022.  Mandrake 2 is a joint project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space Development Agency. The agencies were so excited about the January launch that they made a holiday card with pictures of the satellites, Tournear said on a pre-recorded presentation aired Feb. 11 at the SmallSat Symposium.  Any future military network has to be able to pass huge amounts of data from satellite to satellite, from space to the ground and from space to aircraft in flight.[4]

INVESTORS.COM:  Space Warfare: Why The U.S. Is So Vulnerable, Despite SpaceX’s Wins  “….what was once a key enabler of U.S. dominance – famously on display during the first Gulf War when precision weapons and space-based imaging left the world awe-struck – is becoming a channel that adversaries can exploit to gain the upper hand. Russia and China “are building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies and to change the balance of power in the world,” Gen. John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in December. “We cannot allow that to happen.” On Feb. 21, Susan Gordon, the principal deputy director of national intelligence, warned that China and Russia have laser weapons designed to damage space-based sensors. Two days later, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein predicted that it will only be “a matter of years” before space warfare is waged. [5]

GLOBAL SECURITY:  “Today, we are making it possible for our National Security Space team to accomplish our mission of providing on-orbit space capability to the warfighter,” SMC Launch Enterprise Director Col. Robert Bongiovi said in a statement. [6]

BREAKING DEFENSE:  “While we will extend and defend America’s competitive advantage in peacetime, the ultimate measure of our readiness is the ability to prevail should war initiate in, or extend to space,” the new Chief of Space Operations (CSO) Planning Guidance says.  Among the top prioriites it sets are “investments in Orbital Warfare, Space Electromagnetic Warfare, and tactical intelligence portfolios to enable effective defensive options and prompt offensive capability to deter adversaries from initiating conflict in or extending conflict into space. If deterrence fails, these capabilities posture us to fight and win in space.” Space Force personnel will train at the new Space Training and Readiness Command  (STARCOM) in four disciplines: “Orbital Warfare, Space Electromagnetic Warfare, Space Battle Management, and Space Access and Sustainment.”[7]

INVESTORS.COM:  Future Weapons For Space Warfare The U.S. isn’t helpless. It has potentially dual-use technology that could be given offensive missions too. Satellites that can dock with existing satellites to refuel them could be turned into weapons by ordering them to bump enemy satellites out of orbit or equipping them with jammers or lasers, says Theresa Hitchens, senior research associate at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies. China has been working on similar technology. [8]

BREAKING DEFENSE: US Needs Better Space Defenses, Including Weapons. The recommendation that DoD pursue ‘active defenses’, including lasers on board satellites, is perhaps the most controversial issue raised by CSIS. As Breaking D readers know, the line between active defense and offensive operations is far from clear and has been the subject of debate among military space experts both in the US and overseas for decades. [9]

INVESTORS.COM:  The American public’s first sign that space warfare is being waged won’t be giant explosions lighting up the sky or X-Wing fighters crashing to the ground. Instead, everyday conveniences that we take for granted would be disrupted, such as ATMs and streaming videos. But the world’s most powerful military could be crippled if an enemy destroyed or disabled critical space infrastructure as part of a space war. Navigation, guided missiles and missile-warning alerts rely on GPS satellites. Critical intelligence comes from spy satellites. Drones, Navy ships and infantry grunts use communications satellites. And the disruption of your mundane comforts, which increasingly rely on satellite communications, eventually could grind daily life to a halt. Companies In A Space War: Another wrinkle is the fast-growing commercial space industry, with SpaceX showing it can deliver large military and spy satellites via its new Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX, Boeing and OneWeb are among the numerous companies with plans to launch thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit in the coming years. The new constellations about to enter space would provide space-based internet services as well as surveillance and tracking. Such capabilities are useful to companies that want to keep tabs on shipping fleets, but in theory they could help the military too. “If a commercial system is being deliberately used to provide the military with capabilities, in the time of war it’s a legitimate target,” Hitchens said. [10]

THE CONVERSATION: NATO could start using space weapons that can destroy satellites or incoming enemy missiles. But what is this technology and how could it enable a war? In a recent first for space technology, Russia has launched a commercial satellite specifically designed to rendezvous with other satellites. The purpose of this vehicle is peaceful: it will perform maintenance tasks on other satellites in orbit…..This has caught the attention of NATO. If a country or company can manoeuvre its own satellites into close proximity of others, then it can do so for military or sabotage purposes – potentially without detection. Another development is France’s recent announcement that it will build “bodyguard” satellites armed with either machine guns or lasers.

Electronic warfare But how would sabotage and warfare happen exactly? One method involves firing an intense beam of microwave radiation at an object. In fact, such concepts have been tested before by the police as a means of bringing a speeding car to a halt by disabling electrical devices on the vehicle. Such a concept deployed on satellites would constitute a “directed-energy weapon”, enabling nations to disable other countries’ satellites without creating large clouds of orbital debris. You could potentially make such an attack look like an accident and deny involvement. The use of “radio jamming” to disrupt radar and communications dates back to World War II. By swamping a radio receiver with, effectively, radio noise, one can obscure the reception of genuine signals and render the system inoperative. This is a little like trying to spot the light from a candle against the glare of car headlights.

By far the most obvious method of interfering with a satellite is a solid projectile. Moving satellites have very high kinetic energy and momentum. If a slower moving object can be placed briefly in the path of a satellite, then the resultant collision will be particularly devastating. These so called “kinetic kills” have previously only been used to take satellites out of commission at the end of their life, with the US, Russia China, and India demonstrating their ability to perform this. This type of removal consists of a ground-launched missile aimed at the satellite. If aimed at an adversary satellite, such a missile would be fairly obvious and could be tracked by other nations using radar. A more subtle method would be to destroy a satellite owned by the country or company launching the missile and aim to produce as much debris as possible, which then lies in the orbital path of the intended target. This could look like an accident and actually accidentally occurred in 2007. Lasers are also being considered as defensive weapons, with the idea being to take out attacking satellites’ solar panels. With no power, the satellite will be unable to communicate with the ground station and is essentially lost. The recoil from a laser is much smaller and the lack of atmosphere would allow them to perform better than on the Earth’s surface. A laser could be used to blind instrumentation on an opposing satellite thereby reducing the efficacy of either rendezvous or aiming software. The most likely satellites to be targeted would be those dedicated to communication or observing. A nation with no communication facilities or ability to observe others will never know who has launched an attack against them. [11]

INVESTORS.COM: The U.S. can employ ground-based jammers, but they are only effective when the targeted satellite is in range. Lasers could also be used to temporarily blind or permanently disable a satellite, but the technology isn’t mature enough yet to be effective against a large satellite. The bottom line is that the U.S. has much more to lose in space combat than its adversaries do. “We don’t have good options for fighting back because this is an asymmetrical situation,” as potential adversaries aren’t as reliant on space systems, Hitchens said. “It’s not a tit-for-tat thing like it is for nuclear weapons.” Space War: Strategy, Principles And Policy Policymakers are aware of the threat and are working to address it. The National Defense Strategy released in January emphasized the need to “prioritize investments in resilience, reconstitution, and operations to assure our space capabilities” as “attacks against our critical defense, government, and economic infrastructure must be anticipated.” In its fiscal 2019 budget request, the Air Force is seeking an 8% increase in space funding, the second straight year of significant increases to the space portfolio. The budget focuses on building more jam-resistant GPS satellites, while improving systems for missile warnings and situational awareness in space. ..So options range from economic sanctions to a proportional response in a different domain, like an air- or ground-based attack. “We aren’t locked into an answer,” Fairhurst said. “But the bottom line is that as a nation we have a right to defend ourselves if attacked. And just because we are attacked in space doesn’t mean we have to respond in space.” [12]

FUTURISM.COM: China and Russia are “likely” developing “laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage satellites.”Battle Ready For the past year, the U.S. has been throwing around the idea of establishing a “Space Force” to prepare it for off-world warfare. On Monday, the public got a clearer idea of just what kind of battles the nation expects might be on the horizon: satellite attacks by laser weapons. In other words, the real world is sounding more like “Star Wars” every day. Major Lasers On Monday, the Pentagon released a report titled “Challenges to Security in Space” in which a key claim is that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are in the process of developing technologies they could use to attack U.S. satellites. According to the report, at least two of these nations — China and Russia — are “likely” pursuing “laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage satellites and their sensors.” “China likely will field a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors by 2020,” the report reads, “and by the mid-to-late 2020s, it may field higher power systems that extend the threat to the structures of non-optical satellites.” Russia, meanwhile, already has a land-based laser weapon the Pentagon believes is “likely intended for an anti-satellite mission.” The nation is now reportedly “developing an airborne (anti-satellite) laser weapon system to use against space-based missile defense sensors.” The importance of satellites to modern life— not just modern military operations — is nearly impossible to overstate. The devices play an integral role in our abilities to communicate with one another, navigate the world around us, study important issues such as climate change, and much more. If one nation did want to wreak havoc on another, taking out its satellites would certainly do the trick. So if the intel behind the Pentagon’s new report is solid, it’s imperative that the U.S. find ways to counter any laser threats to U.S. satellites — no matter how much they may sound like science fiction.[13]

CNN: New Pentagon report warns of Russian and Chinese laser threats to US satellites  A new Pentagon report on threats in space warns that China and Russia are both developing capabilities to threaten the US’ preeminent position, including lasers that could target and destroy US satellites. “China and Russia, in particular, are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived US reliance on space-based systems and challenge the US position in space,” the Defense Intelligence Agency report said. The report, which was published Monday, is titled “Challenges to Security in Space,” and examines Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean space capabilities. The growth of China’s space capabilities and the need to help safeguard US satellites have been cited by the Trump administration as a reason why the US needs a Space Force. The Chinese government said Tuesday that the report is “completely without foundation.” “What is alarming and concerning is that the US has defined the outer space as combat territory, announcing to build a space troop, frequently conducting outer space military drills,” Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters.[14]

AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS? The use of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in space is currently banned under the Outer Space Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty. But not all nuclear armed nations have ratified the latter, including the US and North Korea.  A small number of nuclear tests in space were conducted in the 1960s including Starfish Prime. These resulted in artificial radiation belts forming around the Earth which were still detectable decades after the event – posing a danger for astronauts. These radiation belts also disabled half a dozen satellites in low Earth orbit. If the results of Starfish Prime are anything to go by, then clearly it would take only a handful of nuclear detonations to make space unusable for any satellites for decades to come. [15]

Some views from outside the Military/Industrial/Political/Educational/Engineering/Mass Media/Banking/ Space/Wireless/5G/Surveillance/AI/VR/Telecommunications Complex Lens:

MAI’A CROSS, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Part of the problem is that space technologies often have dual use – for military and civilian purposes. States can’t tell whether these technological space efforts are threatening to them or not, argues Saadia Pekkanen, co-director of the Space Policy and Research Center at the University of Washington. “[T]he narrative today has shifted from mere space situational awareness to battlespace awareness,” she writes. “As a result, countries face an increasing danger of aggression or even open conflict in outer space.” [16]

THE UNITED NATIONS GUIDELINES FOR THE LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF OUTER SPACE ACTIVITIES (2018): “States and international intergovernmental organizations should address… risks to people, property, public health and the environment associated with the launch, in-orbit operation and re-entry of space objects” (guideline 2.2(c)). [17]

The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

MAI’A CROSS, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Until now, this global competition has primarily been framed in terms of US-China rivalry. Where does this place other countries’ (militarised) space programs? In 2008, Japan’s parliament lifted the ban on the use of space for national security. South Korea’s program emerged from a need to track North Korea’s missile activities. India’s space program, which was motivated by sovereignty concerns in the 80s and 90s has re-oriented its program toward more military use, even though it had a long-standing policy of non-weaponisation of space. India launched military satellites to support its navy and armed forces in navigation and intelligence, tested an anti-satellite missile, and made institutional changes to integrate and utilise the space in military operations. “All the actors involved find themselves in a race to reach superiority or dominance, and they’re so driven by panic that before you know it everyone is armed to the teeth and you have weaponized a place that is supposed to be a global commons,” Mai’a Cross, professor of political science at Northeastern University, said in an interview. (Reuters)[18]

KARL GROSSMAN SPACE 4PEACE: “The Pentagon knows that faster speeds from 5G will enable greater space surveillance, targeting, and offensive military operations as a result,” he noted. “Launches of tens of thousands of 5G satellites will ensure that every person on Earth will have a satellite over their head 24/7,” Gagnon continued. “Imagine the surveillance and targeting capabilities that would become available.  And the taxpayer is fronting much of the money. The DOD and NASA are awarding hundreds of billions of dollars to the likes of Elon Musk of Space X and other private launch corporations to hoist the 5G satellites into the heavens.”[19]


5G INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ACTION NETWORK: Humankind stands at a precipice from which there will be no return: A Great 21st Century space rush is now underway by commercial enterprises and the military, fomented and enabled in the U.S. by the FCC and other U.S. government agencies, to grab, deploy, transform, and own the Heavens for private gain, defense, and weaponization. Over the next 10 years 80,000+ non-stationary low orbit satellites will be launched and seamlessly integrated in terrestrial 4G/5G/6G+ industrial and military networks (“Space Fence”). Scores of new satellites are being launched every week from the U.S. and other countries. Since the beginnings of our time on earth we humans, and perhaps other species, have revered the skies. The Heavens are the spiritual wellspring of many cultures. This accelerating human-caused catastrophe will substantially compound the existing biological and environmental harms of 4G/5G/6G non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, enable remote manipulation of biological systems, further erode personal privacy, expand government surveillance, present increasing risks of satellite collisions, interfere with meteorological prediction and astronomical research, litter the skies with satellite debris, and endanger national and global security. The Heavens must belong to no one. Quite the opposite, numerous international treaties, conventions, and other legally enforceable commitments affirm they are held in Public Trust for all of humanity and the living world. Nations and people everywhere are the fiduciaries of this Public Trust. They possess the legal means and the power to ensure that the exploration of this new frontier, the Heavens, if it must proceed, is approached with humility and wisdom.[20]

GUARDS: Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space Thirteen companies are competing to cover the entire Earth with high-speed wireless Internet from low-orbit satellites within one to two years. This would be an ecological and public health nightmare. The biggest players are SpaceX (12,000 satellites), OneWeb (4,560 satellites) and Boeing (2,956 satellites). The recent finding, in 2018, that stratospheric ozone is still declining despite the Montreal Protocol took everyone by surprise. The increasing pace of ever-more-powerful rocket launches is a likely factor. Imminent plans for beaming high-speed Internet from space would require the launching of large rockets almost daily. This is expected to alter, if not destroy, the ozone layer and contribute significantly to climate change.[21]

SPACE4PEACE: Nuclear Incidents in Space From the Palm Beach Post, 15 March 2003 The United States has launched 22 missions with nuclear power sources. Three accidents have occurred, one resulting in release of radioactive materials. The U.S. launched one experimental space reactor, in 1965. It is now in a 3,000-year orbit. [22]

5G SPACE APPEAL: Every person on Earth will have instant access to super-high-speed, low- latency wireless communications from any point on the planet, even in rainforests, mid-ocean and the Antarctic. What is not widely acknowledged is that this will also result in unprecedented environmental change on a global scale. The planned density of radio frequency transmitters is impossible to envisage. In addition to millions of new 5G base stations on Earth and 20,000 new satellites in space, 200 billion transmitting objects, according to estimates, will be part of the Internet of Things by 2020, and one trillion objects a few years later. The rollout of 5G at extremely high (millimetre wave) frequencies is planned to begin at the end of 2018. Despite widespread denial, the evidence that radio frequency (RF) radiation is harmful to life is already overwhelming.[23]

EILEEN CRIST: The most important thing to expose and dissect is human supremacy. It often gets referred to by the gentler term anthropocentrism. I view it as a widely shared, unconscious worldview that tells us we are superior to the rest of nature and thus entitled to treat nonhumans and their habitats however we please. Human specialness, human aboveness, and the sanctity of the human prerogative — those are key elements, along with our seizing the power of life and death over nonhumans and our aggressive control of all geographical space.[24]

EISENHOWER’S 1961 WARNING: 60 years ago… “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” he said in his farewell address. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”  

How 5G Changes Everything: Astronomy, Human & Insect Impacts, and Crowded Orbits

80,000 satellites have been approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to be launched in the next 5-10 years, contributing to many already-existing concerns: space debris, ozone depletion, toxic launch pollution, radiation, environmental impacts to birds, bees, insects, humans and more.


Sign the 5G Space Appeal https://www.5gspaceappeal.org

5G Satellite Protest: https://stop5ginternational.org/5g-protest-day-march-20-2021/

SpaceX Protest Promo Video https://stop5ginternational.org/spacex-satellite-protest-march-19-2021/

Healthy Heavens Trust Declaration on satellites https://www.5g-ilan.com

The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space http://space4peace.org/

GUARDS Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space http://www.stopglobalwifi.org/

Satellite Trackers:

Starlink satellite map https://satellitemap.space/


“What’s up in your sky”  https://www.n2yo.com/whats-up/whats-up-now.php



[1] https://stop5ginternational.org/5g-protest-day-march-20-2021/

[2] See also: Space Pollution, The New Private Launch Industry Can Learn A Lot From Aviation About Sustainability, Scientific American, Feb. 2021, pp. 58-61, (gas exhaust, particle emissions, what goes up must come down)

[3] Those interested in learning about the connections between the ionosphere, the global electrical circuit, and the life force are urged to 2018 article, “Planetary Emergency,” and chapter 9, The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life (Chelsea Green 2020).

[4] https://spacenews.com/dod-space-agency-launching-experiments-in-preparation-for-2022-satellite-deployments/

[5] https://www.investors.com/news/war-in-space-why-the-us-has-never-been-more-vulnerable-despite-spacex-wins/

[6] https://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/news/2021/space-210311-sputnik01.htm

[7]  https://breakingdefense.com/2020/11/gen-raymond-targets-combat-ready-space-force/

[8] https://www.investors.com/news/war-in-space-why-the-us-has-never-been-more-vulnerable-despite-spacex-wins/

[9]  https://breakingdefense.com/2021/02/us-needs-better-space-defenses-including-weapons-csis/

[10] https://www.investors.com/news/war-in-space-why-the-us-has-never-been-more-vulnerable-despite-spacex-wins/

[11] https://theconversation.com/space-may-soon-become-a-war-zone-heres-how-that-would-work-125460

[12] https://www.investors.com/news/war-in-space-why-the-us-has-never-been-more-vulnerable-despite-spacex-wins/

[13]  Pentagon Warns That Enemies Could Shoot US Satellites With Lasers (futurism.com)


[14] https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/11/politics/pentagon-russia-china-laser-threat/index.html

[15] https://theconversation.com/space-may-soon-become-a-war-zone-heres-how-that-would-work-125460

[16] http://space4peace.org/is-outer-space-becoming-the-new-wild-west/

[17] https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal

[18] http://space4peace.org/is-outer-space-becoming-the-new-wild-west/

[19] http://13147359.sites.myregisteredsite.com/blog/protesting-deployment-of-5g-and-the-military-connection/

[20] https://www.5g-ilan.com/hhtisatellites

[21] http://www.stopglobalwifi.org/

[22] http://space4peace.org/nuclear-incidents-in-space/

[23] https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal

[24] https://www.spiritofchange.org/the-consequences-%e2%80%a8of-human-plunder/

Top image: Artwork Courtesy Flo Freshman Go with Flo!

Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits. She is based in Massachusetts and can be reached at [email protected].

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