The space race never went away, and now the US is getting a new operations centre to prepare for conflict from above the Earth's atmosphere.
The US Department of Defense plans to open a new space-war centre within six months, according to Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work, who talked about the project yesterday at GEOINT 2015, an intelligence conference. The centre will track spy and military satellites at the same time so US intelligence and military can work together to create the best defence — especially against attacks on its satellite systems. It will be a sort of backup to the military's existing Joint Space Operations Center in California.
The center wouldn't only focus on warding off space-based attacks. According to Defence One, Work pointed out that creating a centre that receives all satellite communications from government departments would allow for better geospatial intelligence gathering, since it'd provide access to most satellite images taken by the government:
"If Russian soldiers are snapping pictures of themselves in war zones and posting them in social media sites, we want to know exactly where those pictures were taken," Work said, alluding to a 24-year-old Russian soldier named Alexander Sotkin who posted photos of himself operating Russian-made military equipment inside Ukraine last July.
Back in 2010, retired Air Force General Lester Lyles explained the military's fixation on space by calling it "the ultimate higher ground." This station will definitely give the Pentagon a better perch, turning the entire US satellite system into a strategic vantage point. [Defense One, Breaking Defence]