Beyond the Paths of Heaven - The Emergence of Space Power Thought: A Comprehensive Anthology of Space-Related Master's Research Produced by the School of Advanced Airpower Studies

 
9781479181322: Beyond the Paths of Heaven - The Emergence of Space Power Thought: A Comprehensive Anthology of Space-Related Master's Research Produced by the School of Advanced Airpower Studies
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From the Overview: Major issues have plagued the US military space community for years. Foremost among these issues is the relationship between air and space. At a recent airpower conference, military leaders from the western powers presented discussions of airpower and space issues with a pervasive underlying assumption: that the next logical step from the exploitation of airpower and space capabilities was the merging of the two environments toward the exploitation of "aerospace" power. The current distinction between air and space rests on the fiscal and technical inability to merge them—an inability that is soon to be overcome. Conferees dismissed environmental distinctions between the two on the grounds that there is no absolute boundary between air and space. Similarities based upon functions and the lack of a distinct boundary are offset by distinctions in the physical environments. The physical laws of air and space are profoundly different. A vehicle flying on a cushion of air is not equivalent to a vehicle in free-fall orbit. Aside from the issue of access due to huge differences in energy requirements, the airborne vehicle is maneuverable and allows for flexible operations while the space-borne platform is fixed to a high-velocity orbital path. The latter expends little energy to stay in a fixed orbital position, allowing it a duration capability well beyond airborne vehicles. The issue is not whether the two environments can be merged technically, but given that they can be merged, should they be merged. An analogy is useful to illustrate the argument.

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Col. Bruce M DeBlois
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