Enter hunter satellites preparing for space war

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Rogers’ last job in government was leading US Space Command teams that planned how and when to deploy defensive and offensive military space systems. He and his co-founders, Dan Bransky, Tom Nichols, and Kyle Zakrzewski, also former Air Force and Space Force officers, “knew the problem better than anyone, faced the limits of technology on a daily basis, and are frustrated by those limits,” says Rogers. Instead of waiting for a major industrial defense contractor to take care of it, they decided to fix the problem themselves. Deploying space weapons, he says, is “a lot closer than most people think.”

According to USA Securities Exchange Commission ApplicationsTrue Anomaly has already raised over $23 million from investors. This includes the December investment from Narya, a venture capital firm co-founded by US Senator JD Vance, an Ohio Republican who supports MAGA. (Rogers says that the True Anomaly itself has no political affiliation.)

The company recently signed a lease for a 35,000-square-foot facility in suburban Denver, Colorado. In addition to manufacturing Jackal satellites, True Anomaly engineers are developing a cloud-based control system to integrate autonomous agents and human operators, using commercial game engines such as Unity to create real-time interactive applications, and developing high-fidelity physics software to help Jackals maneuver in space. True Anomaly has already applied for trademark covering, among other things, hardware and software for “orbital space imaging, rendezvous rendezvous and target detection systems”.

“What sets True Anomaly apart is that it presents its satellite as more of a pursuit system than an imaging or intelligence gathering system,” says Caitlin Johnson, deputy director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic Studies. & International training. “It worries me because it could lead to an unintended escalation. Especially given the founder’s experience in the Air Force, our adversaries might perceive him as a military company that began to use this opportunity.

The first task of the company may be to keep their own floating computers safe and sound. “Cooperative RPO is already complicated,” says Johnson. “You can see it in the demos of Astroscale and Northrop with their service satellites that have been planned for years.” A joint NASA RPO mission in 2005 called DART failed when the spacecraft malfunctioned, crashed into the target satellite, and was destroyed.

According to Johnson, missions to stalk enemy satellites are likely to be even more risky: “You won’t have the same data coming from another satellite. Perhaps you don’t have diagrams and diagnostics of what the satellite looks like so you know what you’re going to face.”

Any collision in orbit can create many thousands of pieces of space debris, each of which can damage other satellites, creating even more debris. Researchers are concerned that an increase in orbital debris will eventually trigger a catastrophic cascade known as Kessler syndrome. Rogers says collision avoidance is a capability “that we are monitoring very closely and aggressively. We are committed to acting responsibly and sustainably in the space industry.”

Rogers himself is no stranger to risk. Prior to launching True Anomaly, he founded and led the cryptocurrency hedge fund Phobos Capital. Prior to that, he started a company called 3720 to 1, Inc, a reference to Han Solo’s chances of successfully navigating the asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Backaccording to C-3PO.

Whether Rogers is more likely to succeed in building the satellite, or whether it’s just another fanatical science fiction, should become a lot clearer after SpaceX’s rocket launch in October.

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