Distant Blocking of Celestial Lines of Communications Using Electromagnetic Pulse

  •  Mark Dmytryszyn    
  •  Matthew Crook    


The potentially imminent and existential threat from a nuclear electromagnetic pulse are arguably inflated, voiced to garner attention to the true issue, that today’s microelectronics are incredibly vulnerable to electromagnetic damage caused by sudden voltage spikes from the electromagnetic pollution. Additionally, a nuclear electromagnetic pulse does not need to be detonated in outer space to cause signification disruption to communications systems’ data and information flow across the celestial domain. High altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) detonations do not need to occur in outer space to have wide ranging effects; in describing electromagnetic pulses, the high-altitude moniker is tied to any detonation above nineteen miles (thirty point-five kilometers). High altitude electromagnetic pulse detonations ranging from fifty to one hundred kilometers can project wave effects into outer space and affect spacecraft through both direct damage (contemporary views regarding electromagnetic pulse) and radiation-induced torques on the solar arrays, misaligning satellite antennas and sensors. If an actor – state or otherwise – wished to compete or contest another along the congested celestial lines of communications (CLOCs), it can be done at great distance from the affected entity by use of a high altitude electromagnetic pulse on the ‘far side’ of the orbit. Additionally, the historic maritime tactic of blockade has applicability in space; yesterday’s ships are today’s gamma ray damage to microelectronics. Furthermore, the employment of a nuclear weapon-delivered high-altitude electromagnetic pulse remains a treaty violation, for those who are a party to. However, greater jurisprudence study is lacking regarding this matter, and the accompanying concern of transboundary harm as it relates to territorial sovereignty. In summary, an actor can contest another’s use of the celestial lines of communications by detonating a nuclear weapon, at high-altitude but within the atmosphere (i.e., below one hundred kilometers), and within the lateral boundaries of their sovereign territory and associated territorial waters, and allow wave’s effects to radiate widely to interrupt operations and possibly inflict permanent damage, all without being in violation of treaty or customary law. This manuscript substantiates the prequel baseline for follow-on research on mitigation of the deleterious effects on communication system circuits in attempts to void the blockage on celestial lines of communications, and the sequel is briefly introduced with a short description of the state-of-the-art research.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9639
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9647
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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