Fri. May 31st, 2024

Pentagon’s Research Boss Wants Tough Electronics for Sale

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker May18,2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, is calling on commercial industry to develop affordable, radiation-hardened electronics.

“Commercial innovation in this area can help to ensure the security and resilience of our satellite systems in orbit,” Shyu said April 9 at the 39th Space Symposium here.

The comments from the Pentagon’s top research official were further evidence that the U.S. military is concerned about the possibility of detonation of a nuclear weapon in space that could degrade or permanently disable individual satellites or entire constellations.

“By making this statement about radiation enforcement in front of the global audience of U.S. and foreign commercial and government space operators, she warns the global community about space threats without identifying what the U.S. might know that led to such a warning,” Cortney Weinbaum, RAND senior management scientist, said in a statement. “All space systems would already be hardened against the background radiation of space, which makes her call-to-action novel and an increase over previous [statements regarding] space defense.”

EMP Threat

Concerns of a new Russian antisatellite weapon being developed, but not yet fielded, were confirmed by the White House in February. At the time, John Kirby, White House national security communications advisor, did not address reports that the Russia weapon was either nuclear-powered or designed to produce an electromagnetic pulse to disable satellite electronics.

Still, those reports have raised concerns about radiation hardening of space-based electronics.

“Recent reporting regarding the prospect of Russia launching nuclear warheads on long-range boosters or from orbiting platforms raises additional concerns of nuclear detonations in space,” Shyu said.

Commercial Technology

In Space Symposium remarks, Shyu also called attention to the Defense Department’s 2024 Commercial Space Integration Strategy released earlier this month.

“This strategy seeks to align the Department’s efforts to drive more effective integration of commercial space solutions into national security space architectures,” Shyu said. “Central to this integration of commercial space capabilities into defense operations is the imperative to broadly diversify our capabilities to provide increased resilience.”

In addition to radiation-hardening, Shyu cited “novel orbits, varied communication pathways, advancements in propulsion technologies and increased cooperation with our allies” as ways to increase the resilience of space assets.

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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2 thoughts on “Pentagon’s Research Boss Wants Tough Electronics for Sale”
  1. It is vital that the commercial industry steps up to develop radiation-hardened electronics to safeguard our satellite systems in orbit. Heidi Shyu’s call for innovation in this realm is a critical move towards ensuring our national security and space resilience.

  2. It is crucial that our satellite systems in orbit are equipped with radiation-hardened electronics to protect against potential security threats. Heidi Shyu’s call for commercial industry to develop such technology is a necessary step in safeguarding our space operations.

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