As if Lockheed Martin’s space-war simulation facility isn’t sci-fi enough, it has an even cooler name: Pulsar Guardian.
We’re not dealing with off-Earth attacks or space pirates yet, but the Air Force Space Command is wary of these things (and even much less intense incidents like a satellite crash) coming at us in the future. This is why Lockheed Martin secretly built a facility that sounds like it belongs in a galaxy far, far away and recently announced that it exists. Pulsar Guardian doesn’t actually deal with guarding against pulsars, since no flashing zombie stars are actually threatening us, but will protect from some very real perils in orbit.
Nobody outside Lockheed personnel or government and military officials has actually been inside Pulsar Guardian, but its sister site, Pulsar (above), is a preview of what is to come.
“Pulsar Guardian reflects a new way for space operators to evaluate new systems, changes to existing ones, or train on the platforms they use every day,” Maria Demaree, Lockheed Martin Space vice president and general manager of Mission Solutions, explained. “Wargaming and training have never been as immersive — it’s a game changer.”
Lockheed intends this Pulsar Guardian to be a site where any company creating weapons can bring in their tools and prototypes and test them out in a virtual environment and won’t actually disrupt any real space missions.
Multi-Domain Operations (MDOs) — a new fighting concept that integrates air and space systems and data to act and react fast — need spaces like this. Pulsar Guardian can simulate space-war situations (including cyberattacks) in virtual and augmented reality to figure out how to take action.
Who exactly is even going to be using Pulsar Guardian is still a secret. The Air Force is probably going to be involved until we get an actual Space Force off the ground. What we do know is that anyone who does use it will run realistic simulations of what is happening or could happen in space. Hacking government satellites could mean a security breach.
With China and Russia leveling up their own satellites, we need to boost our defense. Both countries are developing weapons that can do serious satellite damage like jamming signals, shooting lasers at hypersensitive instruments, cyberattacking, sneaking up and disabling a spacecraft, or just smashing into it. The Defense Intelligence Agency even wrote a report, Challenges to Security in Space, earlier this year to address this problem.
“Pulsar facilities reduce travel time and costs for customers and Lockheed Martin employees through being able to quickly bring subject matter experts and engineers from around the globe into the conversation to quickly diagnose a problem, brainstorm a tough problem in real-time, or make changes to a product on the fly using Virtual and Augmented Reality,” said the company’s official press release.
Pulsar Guardian is a place where the U.S. space military personnel of today and tomorrow will learn how to outsmart enemy tactics. Whether it’s out-powering or just evading enemy satellites, who knows if space wars may be a thing sooner than we think.
(via Lockheed Martin)