Keeping an eye on technological progress is a full-time job, so it's good to know that Space.com has PhD reporters on staff to fill us in on the latest gizmology being deployed in the service of US "warfighters". Guys like Mike Wall, Space.com's reporter, are so far from the stereotype of the craven, grant-whoring scientists of the global-warming controversy, that they take the money to advance the status quo, rather than questioning it.
As for the remote-control death satellite, that's MUOS, and it simply uses a sexier technology to increase the volume of bandwidth available to the military, which is crucial for today's drones with all their cameras, sensors, and the command-and-control systems needed to rain death on defenseless schmucks below:
US Navy Launches Next-Generation Military Satellite | Military Space & Military Satellites | Space Weapons & Military Communications Technology | Space.com: "Further, the military's demand for communications capacity is on the rise, due largely to a sharp increase in the use of unmanned aircraft. The MUOS network is an attempt to boost that capacity, and to shift the burden away from the deteriorating UFO system.It has become something of an article of faith among the more gung-ho among us that war is good for the economy. Given that the US manufacturing base has eroded substantially in the past few decades, if it wasn't for these ultra-efficient death-dealing technologies, the US wouldn't be making much of anything at all. One can easily appreciate Lockheed Martin's interest in these multi-billion dollar weapons systems, which line the pockets of their company bigwigs and shareholders, to say nothing of the economic stimulus that it brings to the non-union workforce way down south in Dixie, where they build these things. Red-blooded, libertarian Americans have to make a living, after all.
When it's complete, the MUOS constellation will consist of four active satellites, plus one orbiting spare. Each MUOS satellite will carry two payloads — one similar to the UFO payload (to provide links to currently deployed user terminals), and a new digital payload that will boost communications capacity significantly.
"Utilizing commercial 3G cell phone and satellite technology, MUOS will provide mobile warfighters point-to-point and netted communications services at enhanced data rates and priority-based access to on-demand voice, video and data transfers," Lockheed Martin officials wrote in a recent statement."
Anyway, since these drones are here to stay, and they're coming to an airspace near you eventually -- that would be in the skies above amber waves of grain, of course -- we owe it to ourselves to keep abreast of the technologies that will someday be used to kill our neighbors and keep the malcontents in line.