Orbital Vigilance: The Need for Enhanced Space-Based Missile Warning and Tracking

Arlington, VA | June 7, 2022 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Orbital Vigilance: The Need for Enhanced Space-Based Missile Warning and Tracking by Christopher Stone, Senior Fellow for Space Studies at the Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence.

Today, both China and Russia are fielding a new generation of hypersonic, low-flying missiles that U.S. ground-based radars are unable to track in the time needed to provide warning and cue defenses. They are also fielding anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons to degrade or destroy existing U.S. space-based missile warning sensors. In combination, these capabilities give China and Russia a decisive advantage in a major conflict with the United States.

DOD must create a more survivable and resilient multi-orbit sensor architecture that can track salvos of these hypersonic weapons and other maneuvering, non-ballistic missiles, then cue defenses against them in real-time. DOD now has the technology to create such a multi-orbit system of systems; realizing it must be a priority to avoid ceding the U.S. national security advantage in space that will be critical to the success of U.S. forces in all domains in a future peer conflict.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series presenting new thinking and policy proposals to respond to the emerging security and aerospace power challenges of the 21st century. These papers are written for lawmakers and their staffs, policy professionals, business and industry, academics, journalists, and the informed public.

For media inquiries, email our publications team at publications.mitchellaerospacepower@afa.org

Copies of Policy Papers can be downloaded at https://www.mitchellaerospacepower.org/publications

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