In a few decades (the time to build some artificial satellites and to send a man to the moon and then create GPS), humans became spatio-dependant. After the first military issues related to the Cold War between the USSR and the United States, the conquest of space has become an economy.

The race for control of space is in all respects similar to that of the oceans (and Spice Road / Silk Road during the last two centuries). Society has discovered today that there are informational natural resources we should collectively manage (just like water, etc.) For example, the electromagnetic spectrum including low orbits (LEO: 200-2000 km) , average orbits (GEO: 2000-35000 km) and geostationary orbits (MEO: 35780 km).

Space will always be heaven on earth.
René-Jean Dupuy.

Landmarks

1930 Precursor: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.
1945 Pioneer : Wernher Von Braun.
1957 The first satellite : Sputnik.
1959 First American Mercury program.
1961 The first man in space – Gagarin.
1963 Declaration of legal principles of Space (UN)
1964 The first American GPS TRANSIT.
1965 The privatization of services satellite.
1969 Apollo 11 on the moon.
1972 The first observation satellite of the Earth and the first geosynchronous satellite (Salyut, Skylab, Mir, etc.).
1990 The Hubble Space Telescope (NASA) and the Magellan (Venus) sensor, the mission Cassini-Huygens (Titan 2004) and rovers, etc.
1998 The International Space Station (ISS).
2000 Trade liberalization of telecommunications.
2000 American program Space Dominance.
2001 GPS : BeiDon, Galileo, Copernicus, GLONASS, etc.
2003 Battlefield Internet.
2013 First private rocket company (SpaceX).

Space plays a leading role in US military operations (see Internet Battlefield).

Here’s how the SEALS special tactics troops use an environment incorporating drones, stealth aircraft, satellites (Inmarsat) and the ground, trucks and rovers :

Trade issues

Today there are already more than 5000 operational satellites ; some are as big as a car, others no bigger than a hand (Pocket Qube, Nanosats, Cube Sats) ; they follow the same process of miniaturization as robots. They have three major vocations : telecommunications, geolocation and observation :

  • telecommunications services to 300 million households (telephone relay, television, banking transactions and amateur radio, representing 60% of operational satellites) ;
  • meteorological services (monitoring of the oceans and climate change) ;
  • free navigation services for 2.2 billion smartphones and tablets (GPS, Google Earth), aid to air navigation, rail, sea and road ;
  • telemetry observatory (geodesy) to agriculture (measure wind or moisture for crops), for sea fishing (DigitalGlobe, AstrumGeo) ;
  • remote sensing, early warning (plate tectonics, tsunami, etc.), detecting nuclear explosions, Earth Science program (Earth Observation) ;
  • military Operations (War of the Six Days, the Yom Kippur, Bosnia or Iraq) ;
  • robotics : Canadian manipulable arms, rover, etc. ;
  • wiretap (intelligence, national security, etc.) : Listening to mobile phones, email and social networks.

Some of the NASA satellites studying the Earth system :

After 2020 (?)

The planet will probably be served by four major global systems : American, Russian, Chinese and European :

  • small satellites and small launchers allowing access to a limited area (for a small country, for example) ;
  • the sun-drones disaster ;
  • the use of microwave or high power lasers to blind a satellite (MFP) ;
  • the development of higher resolutions for cameras and greater miniaturization for smartphones and tablets ;
  • constellations CubeSat able to film the Earth constantly (state of harvests, etc.) ;
  • satellites satellites killers (AST : Hit-to-kill) ;
  • interference bonds or a satellite control (testing by Al Qaeda) ;
  • the possible creation of an e-bomb.

Since 2011, the United States now entrusts the management of their space activities to private companies. Space has become a business ; competition is fierce between Boeing, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, etc., and fabulous markets : the next shuttle, launchers, cargo vessels, simulators, space tourism (Virgin, the goal Mars probes, etc.)

The Boeing program, the Crew Space Transportation is developing the CST-100 shuttle (both shuttle, a launcher and launch stations). Below, we see a simulation of the shuttle heading to the ISS :

The dark side

The Satellite area encircling ​​the earth is now completely polluted by all sorts of debris because of the 11,000 asteroids and 700,000 pieces of debris already identified in space. See the central tracking of Jet Propulsion Lab by its three telescopes (Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii).

The United States decided to make the area an American space (see Dominance Space program of President Bush, 2000). They alone spend more than double the total of all other space budgets combined: $ 64 billion in 2010. This is their High Frontier, and it will allow them to sell their content via Soft Power Producers (movies, shows and music) and GPS applications that are configured, globally, to American standards.