The book opens with a consideration of how our space assets might be lost in the first place: through orbital debris, war, and solar storms. The author then looks at what would happen if our satellites were lost, including the effect on weather forecasting, and the Global Positioning System, explaining GPS in detail and its importance to the military, including spy satellites and military reconnaissance, commerce, civilians, communications and remote sensing – both resource monitoring and locating and environmental monitoring and science. The effects of losing such assets as the International Space Station as well as such research satellites as the Hubble Space Telescope or the Chandra X-Ray Observatory are also considered.
Part III of the book looks at how we can protect our satellites, preparing for the worst, reducing the growth and amount of orbital debris, preventing acts of war in space and hardening against space radiation. The book ends on an optimistic note: most spacefaring nations are now working together to develop new technologies to reduce the threat posed by orbital debris and in-space nuclear detonations and treaties exist to limit the development and use of weapons in space. Finally, it is hoped that it will not be long before we will be able to better predict and take precautions against solar storms.
The global economy has now become so dependent upon satellites that their loss would be devastating – to the economy, to national security, and potentially, to the day-to-day survival of those who live in the world’s most advanced economies.
About the Author
Les Johnson is the Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.He is also the co-author of three published popular science books, Living Off the Land in Space (Springer/Copernicus 2007), the 2008 PROSE Award finalist, Solar Sails - A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (Springer/Copernicus 2008), and Paradise Regained – The Regreening of Earth (Springer/Copernicus 2009).He is also the co-author of the science fiction novel, Back to the Moon (Baen/2010).
In the early 2000s, Les was NASA’s Manager for Interstellar Propulsion Research and later managed the $100M In-Space Propulsion Technology Program.He has worked for NASA since 1990 and has served in various technical and management roles.
Les is the NASA co-investigator on the Japanese space tether experiment “T-Rex” that flew in late 2010.He was the Chief Scientist for the ProSEDS space experiment, twice received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, and holds 3 space technology patents.
Les earned his Master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and his Bachelor’s Degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.He has numerous peer-reviewed publications and was published in Analog.He is a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, The World Future Society, and MENSA.