Jeffrey LewisHuge in China

People’s Daily cites a recent ArmsControlWonk blog post concerning the Microsat Kinetic Kill Payload (MKKP), via Noah Shachtman’s

My lousy Chinese isn’t enough to make heads or tales of the post, other than to say I’ve never referred to any satellite, in any context, as “itty bitty.”

Gregory Kulacki helpfully points out that the article is titled “America’s Pentagon Seeks Killer Space Vehicle,” and opens with

From the Oct. America’s (Defense Technology) website: American arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis revealed the American Defense Department’s hoped-for space weapons munitions list starts off with a so-called “itty-bitty” staellite. The mission of the itty-bitty satellite is to destroy enemy spacecraft.

I hasten to add that, in my post, my intent was to ridicule, not alarm. Noah picked this up, noting that the other concepts were plainly ridiculous (see the grabber satellite).

Anyway, to be clear: The briefing appears to have been prepared by one J.F. Hemleben, a faculty member at the Marine Corps College of Continuing Education, in January 2001. [John Pike had the good sense to look.] The briefing itself is not official, although I would add that Hemleben may have created the crude illustrations of various satellites based on some report or another. In my post, I cited one report like this—an informal 1999 study sponsored by the Air Force— that called for the development of space control satellites based on the XSS-10.

So we’ve known for some time that at least a few folks in the Pentagon have supported such a concept, which has also been called the “flexible orbit counterspace microsat.”