Air Force Launching Space Force in Next 3 Years

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 10:10AM
Space
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NASA
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Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 10:10AM
Air Force Launching Space Force in Next 3 Years
Image credit: Pixabay
With China taking a strong lead in the militarization of the Final Frontier, the Air Force has announced it's time for the US to catch up. Air Force Lieutenant General and President of Air University Steve Kwast says we need to change the way we look at space operations. 

"Failure is not an option" is probably the most famous slogan to come out of NASA (apart from the closely related "Houston, we have a problem"). Those were the 1970s, though—this is a new age, with new rules. And according to Kwast, one of those rules should be "fail-first, fail-forward." Even with rockets.

It's all part of a new proposal Kwast is pushing called "Fast Space: Leveraging Ultra Low-Cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges."

According to the document, the key feature of the US' space program shouldn't be meticulous planning or extremely high standards for testing; it should be speed—faster approval, faster testing, faster launching, and faster failures. Essentially, it's Facebook's old slogan "Move fast and break things" applied to spaceflight.

In fact, the phrase "fail-first, fail-forward," along with Kwast's repeated comparisons to the Wright Brothers, seems to come from Mike Maddock, the CEO of a consulting firm specializing in helping companies launch new products using disruptive ideas.

This makes a lot of sense, considering that two major pillars of Kwast's plan are to deregulate spaceflight so that it's easier for private companies to get in the game and to partner with those private companies to share the cost of spaceflight.

At the heart of Kwast's "Fast Space" proposal is the assertion that the space landscape is changing, 

He also points to North Korea as a major threat: if the DPRK launched an EMP missile into space, it would cripple our satellites, leaving the US with little recourse. The best hope, he says, is to abandon the old, slow, careful approach to space, bring private companies in, and make it okay for them to fail while innovating.

We've already seen how much SpaceX has been able to accomplish in its partnership with NASA, including its spectacular reel of rocket explosions, but Kwast's plan will change the entire paradigm of US space policy. If sci-fi fans are wondering what separates the modern, earthbound companies of today from the incredibly powerful, interstellar super-corporations of the cyberpunk future, "Fast Space" may be it.
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Air Force Launching Space Force in Next 3 Years
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