Elon Musk is prevailing in the space race with Russia

SpaceX provides critical advantages to the United States over its competitors.

While billionaire Elon Musk was concentrated on improving the capabilities of his private American space company, SpaceX, at the commencement of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine's deputy prime minister issued an appeal that only the eccentric genius billionaire could answer. Ukraine need assistance in preserving its internet connectivity in the face of Russian attempts to impair Ukraine's internet link with the rest of the world.

Within 24 hours of the Ukrainian request, SpaceX deployed 40 Starlink satellites without breaking a beat. Following that launch, Mr. Musk dispatched Starlink ground terminals to the beleaguered Ukraine. As Mr. Musk warned on social media at the time, this action would almost certainly render the private American company a direct target of any prospective Russian military buildup in space. After all, isolating Ukraine from the rest of the world is a critical component of Russia's larger military invasion strategy for achieving ultimate dominion over its neighbor. Mr. Musk has not only confirmed the growing relevance of space to modern warfare, but he has also given Ukraine the opportunity to wage information warfare unhindered by Moscow.

Shortly after this occurrence, tensions between Russia and the United States grew over the International Space Station's future. Since the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and the West over Ukraine, what had long been the peak of Russo-American cooperation in space has now become a geopolitical lever that both Moscow and Washington seek to wield against each other. Initially, the United States imposed severe restrictions on Russia's aircraft industry.

In response, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's space agency, issued an alarming threat about how America's sanctions on Russia's crucial aerospace industry could lead to the ISS's destruction. Following Washington's outrage, Moscow stopped any future flights of American astronauts on their ancient Soyuz spacecraft, with Mr. Rogozin insulting the Americans by stating, "Have fun [going into space] on your broomsticks!" Not long after Mr. Rogozin's outburst, SpaceX stepped forward and promised to do more to ferry Americans to and from the International Space Station on their sophisticated spaceships.

Mr. Musk was denying Russia the potential to escalate in space against the International Space Station.

Clearly, SpaceX is not your average firm. It is a vital strategic actor in the new space competition between the United States, Russia, and China, and it provides the United States with significant advantages over its competitors. SpaceX has proven to be a vital component of the United States military's mission to secure its position in space's critical high ground. As a result, as Russia's war in Ukraine continues and the death toll (as well as worldwide fury) rises, Russia will inevitably target SpaceX for assault.

So, how can the United States better protect SpaceX from a hypothetical Russian attack? Because, without SpaceX, the United States government would be stranded on Earth, staring up at Russia and China while they took over the cosmos without us.

Mr. Musk has already helped the Pentagon to save money and reinvest it in other essential missions by making military satellite launches more inexpensive with SpaceX's reusable rockets during the previous decade. SpaceX innovated at a time when few other companies dealing with the Defense Department could.

Mr. Musk's Starlink satellite constellation will serve as a backup in the event that America's adversaries (or even a solar flare) damage America's existing satellites in orbit. Starlink satellites are smaller and less expensive to launch, as well as easier to replace if they are attacked or damaged. And Ukraine's use of them in a disputed environment will provide an important blueprint for the US if and when Russia (or China) decides to attack America's vulnerable-yet-vital satellites in orbit.

Now is the moment to admit that the United States lags well behind its competitors in space. Washington must develop policies to address these issues and preserve American interests in space as soon as possible. Defending the private enterprises that support America's continuous presence in space is an important aspect of safeguarding America's role in space.

Space is used for military purposes by China, Russia, and the United States. Both Russia and China are looking for novel ways to weaken the US military on the ground. Depriving America's military of access to space is one way Moscow and Beijing intend to weaken the Americans and their allies on land, sea, air, and cyberspace.

Mr. Musk has given America a fighting chance in this new space contest (that is evolving into a space war). Mr. Musk, in true American spirit, is not waiting for anyone in government to grant him permission to act. SpaceX is simply taking strong action to protect American allies from attack. In the process, SpaceX is putting itself at risk of direct reprisal from a competing nation-state. Without suitable regulations and tactics in place to effectively protect mission-critical enterprises like SpaceX, the corporation might become a casualty of Russian aggression over Ukraine. Losing a vital private enterprise like SpaceX will be a significant setback for the United States in its battle to command the strategic high ground of space.

Any attack on SpaceX property or employees must be declared an attack on US military by the Biden administration. President Biden must extend deterrence to the commercial American space industry before America's adversaries begin targeting it in order to weaken the US military.

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