Accession Number : ADA474825

Title :   Improving Satellite Protection with Nanotechnology

Descriptive Note : Research paper

Corporate Author : AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL CENTER FOR STRATEGY AND TECHNOLOGY

Personal Author(s) : Huntington, Joseph

PDF Url : ADA474825

Report Date : DEC 2007

Pagination or Media Count : 23

Abstract : While the United States has enjoyed an historic advantage in space and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has enjoyed the luxury of operating relatively unimpeded in this medium, the nation has become vulnerable to threats that could damage or disable its vital satellite constellations. This paper examines the threat to satellites posed by ground-based directed energy weapons and the state of satellite-related nanotechnology research and development (R&D) to demonstrate the applicability for mitigating this type of threat. The paper argues that USAF leaders need to make continued R&D into nanotechnology for satellite applications an investment priority. This will require a long and expensive commitment, only some of which will pay off, but it is necessary if the USAF and the nation are to maintain space supremacy. The paper begins by describing the threat to U.S. satellites posed by directed energy weapons. The paper specifically examines both lasers and high-powered microwaves, describing what they are and how they may threaten satellites. It then discusses what countries currently possess these capabilities and what capability adversaries might possess in the 2025 timeframe. From these discussions, the paper draws upon common satellite orbits to show the role orbits play in satellite vulnerability. It also looks at common satellite subsystems and explores how ground-based directed energy weapons could damage these systems. Several definitions for nanotechnology are explored. The paper explains how nanomaterials are different from materials at the micro- or macro-scale, and details the different properties nanomaterials possess. The paper then explains how the work from nanotechnology R&D projects can be applied to satellite subsystems, for example, surface coatings that could be used to improve satellite thermal control and electrical conductivity, and nanomaterials to improve the radiation hardness of satellite microprocessors and other structures.

Descriptors :   *SYSTEMS ENGINEERING, *THREATS, *PROTECTION, *VULNERABILITY, *DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS, *SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS, *NANOTECHNOLOGY, ORBITS, PREVENTION, RADIATION HARDENING, REFRACTORY COATINGS, ANTISATELLITE DEFENSE SYSTEMS, DAMAGE CONTROL, MILITARY SATELLITES, COMMUNICATION SATELLITES, GROUND BASED, LONG RANGE(TIME), INVESTMENTS, AIR FORCE RESEARCH

Subject Categories : Electromagnetic Shielding
      Directed Energy Weapons
      Unmanned Spacecraft
      Protective Equipment

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE